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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Conservationism

First of all, this "ism". Brrr. Isn't there some ideologizing nounification more mellifluositous? Ism is so, so Bolshevik. But I am a conservationist. A lot. Not an environmentalist in the slightest. Screw environmentalists. They suck.

The difference is, as I make it: which is important, humanity or The Planet. I don't see myself as part of a viral infection. That's the environmentalists' position: mankind is a parasite. Gaea? No thanks. Not my goddess. She can howl in her cave. Contrariwise, conservationists are husbandmen -- handling their affairs in a competent and thrifty manner. That was the job God hired Adam for. Tending the Garden. Stewardship. God is a conservationist -- when he's not housecleaning with droughts, wildfires, floods and plagues, that is.

To confuse the complex homeostatic mechanisms that allow life to continue on this globe for something that has arise randomly or naturalistically -- it just seems foolish. Can't we at least agree on a Deistic God? Must we resort to the magical thinking of random Evolutionism? And if we posit an outside organizing force, we deflate the goddess -- we enter the hollow of the idol and find no inherent intelligence, no spirit, no music but the moaning wind.

So it's a worldview thing. Given this, how are we to act responsibly? Well, I think SUVs are just moronic. Trucks? Trucks? For soccer moms? Breaker-breaker, Mama Goose reads yer twenty an's toolin' down the slab fer the Ankle Biters. Be there short flashin' 3s an' 8s. Did they learn nothing from the seventies? Don't they remember the gas lines and the odd/even rationing?

Use what you need, and save the rest. Why aren't roofs covered with solar panels? Why are we still burning oil?

I was just watching Modern Marvels, about alternative energy sources and the like. They talked about giant windfarms and fields of mirrors all aimed at a central water tank. Well, all that's many millions of dollars. A good civic investment, perhaps. Point is, a lot of our electricity comes from burning coal. I'm fine with that. We have lots of coal. But a lot of it comes from burning oil. Maybe you've been noticing a few items in the news, recently, about oil. Seems to have some international importance. Can't quite see how, but some are suggesting a national security connection. Maybe we should do something about that, huh?

Farmers and country folk need oil. Tractors and long hauls to the city. Us city folk don't. There are these things called "electric cars" you see. Or hybrids. Biofuels seem not to be such a great idea after all. Corn is for food. Third World countries are tearing up their jungles and crops to supply Europe's 10% mandate for ethanol in their petrol. Not quite the same thing as using waste oils -- donut and french fry oils, in modified diesel engines, as my son is planning. Free gas. Neato. See? One is pseudo-ecotheory. The other is thrifty and smart.

Then there's a French company that's made a full-sized car that runs on compressed air. Yes, that's right -- like what you fill balloons with. Range of 120 miles, speed up to 70 mph -- for two bucks worth of electricity. I just like that. And you do know, don't you, that many American families actually do have more than one car. So, like, for the shorter trips, the smart car, and for the long trips, the American car. Get it?

On a smaller scale, freezing a big block of ice at night and using it in the daytime as air-conditioning coolant -- 95% cheaper as I recall. Smart. A kitchen appliance that turns food waste into compost. Takes five pounds a day and in two weeks you have a nice pile of beautiful black earth. Up to 40% of landfills are food wastes. Burns fifty cents worth of electricity per month. Well? How is that not smart? Um ... it costs $450, but, uh -- well dang it, it will SAVE THE PLANET!

The planet can save itself. Save America. Does it reduce carbon emissions? I don't see that it matters -- as long as it keeps sulfur out of the air. Global Warming! isn't anthropogenic, and if it were, it wouldn't be because of CO2. But such things reduce dependence on oil, both foreign and domestic. There are political ramifications beyond the obvious.

Freedom, my young friend, means being independent. Independent means not dependent. Well, everyone depends on something. Sometimes we just need a friend. Sometimes we need some help. It's part of being human. But part of being a free nation means not being vulnerable to manipulation. I've said it before. Iraq would be Darfur if it weren't for the oil. Lucky thing for Iraq, then. But not so good for us. It would be better if we only had to care because we were such good people, instead of because they have oil. While we ourselves don't use much Iraqi oil, if it weren't there for those who do use it, the demand for what we use would be higher, and thus oil would be more costly. Basic economics, son.

With oil approaching $100 per barrel, alternative energies are becoming cost-effective. They are expensive to set up, don't you know, so there has to be significant profit incentive. Catch is, when they are competing in the marketplace, demand for oil will fall, and thus its price will fall, and alternatives will be relatively more expensive. A see-saw effect. Sort of a Beta/VHS rivalry, where one just wins out. In which case it becomes a character issue, and one of patriotism. We have to prepare options. Think of it as a security tax, like what the airlines charge us, now, thanks to the denizens of certain oil producing nations.

If you're going to buy something, buy smart. Cars and lightbulbs and refrigerators run the gamut in terms of efficiency. This isn't the 1950s, when we thought that rivers were sewers. How is that not a conservative understanding?

It's not enough just to be smart. You have to act smart.


J

20 comments:

Will C. said...

Bravo, Bravo, more good stuff to read in the waining hours of the evening. Harkins to Teddy Roosevelt, the first conservationist president...

"Then there's a French company that's made a full-sized car that runs on compressed air."

Hmmm, I do know that in a manufacturing plant, compressed air is the most costly resource above electricity and water and A/C. I'll have to think about that one...Which is better, hauling around a (big) compressed air tank running a piston or air motor...or hauling around a bunch of lead-acid batteries which run an electric motor. Interesting...

Jack H said...

It is an oddly pleasing idea.

In the MM program, the tanks were standard sized, maybe five feet tall, made of carbon-fiber.

Some links:
http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:MDI_Air_Car
http://www.theaircar.com/faq.html
http://www.cyber-media.com/aircar/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4

J

Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what you say. I'm an ex-religionist myself, and have no interest in your version of diety, but I completely agree with your assessment of the eco-nuts.

I think capitalism will save the planet, but it's hard to come out of the closet with that idea given the emotional force of those worshiping gaia.

Jack H said...

Forget the planet. Save yourself.

Closets are for skeletons and homosexuals. Come out into the light.

J

Anonymous said...

I'm already there, but thanks for the concern.

Jack H said...

Good lightbulb, huh? Hope it's ecofriendly.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point since the "eco-friendly" ones have mercury in them do they not?

I wonder about all that mercury, and all the nasty chemicals in all those hybrid batteries. Such unpopular topics in some circles. what say you?

Jack H said...

One of the good bulbs -- low mercury -- has about 1% of the mercury found in a typical dental filling. Don't quite know if that's good news or not. It has to do, I suppose, with recycling and proper disposal. That's a balance between practicalities and conscience.

It doesn't seem unreasonable that major sellers of such products should provide disposal bins. But maybe that's just more econazi regulation? My poor brain is conflicted.

Mercury is a neurotoxin, of course, but there are dietary protocols that help cleanse the system, for anyone with the interest and motivation to pursue such a thing.

I knew this guy once? who had a friend whose uncle broke a CFL? And then he started bleeding from his eyes? and he died.

So there you go then.

J

Will C. said...

Wait, Mercury occurs naturally in the earth!!!

Back to the air car...One sharp blogger on the PM article articulated my concern. I wouldn't want to be in a car wreck with 4500psi tanks under me or behind me or anywhere near me for that matter. But then again gasoline isn't exactly an inert compound.

Will C. said...

And LEDs are the wave of the future. They've not been completely optimized for efficiency whereas fluorescents have.
Something about getting that little bit of light shining back into the diode crystal redirected or something...
Now if I could just stand that awful UV-looking light from my LED flashlight then things would be hunky-doory.

Will C. said...

It's so simple guys, everythings being done with ball-bearings these days... now prepare that fetzer with some 3-1 oil some gauze pad and 6 quarts of antifreeze, preferably Prestone

Jack H said...

When I was a kid I'd let beads of mercury roll around in my palm. Call me mad.

The air tanks are made of carbon fiber, which the MM program references as splitting under sufficient impact, rather than exploding. It would be a lot of energy, but no shrapnel.

LEDs are fine. I don't quite understand how they're possible, but whatever works. Problem is, you can't bash anyone over the head with them, as with a lamp or a big flashlight. The world is what it is, after all.

Ball bearings?! What is your malfunction, mister?!? Superconductors! Get with the program, private!

J

Will C. said...

My apologies for the blatant "Fletch" quote...

Will C. said...

http://www.maglite.com/D_Cell_LED.asp

for your all your bashing needs... :)

Jack H said...

Your strange science confuses and frightens me. It seems like magic to my primitive mind. I wonder how you have trapped fire inside this black shiny stick. Is it some air-spirit? Your shamans must be powerful. And this god of yours, LED -- is he an angry god?

I read all of the Fletch books. The first two or three were good. After that they suffered from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Syndrome -- anything he wrote after the first two or three, he thought didn't need rewrites.

Or were you referring to the, ahem, "movie"? Ah. Yes. Well then. Oh, there's your bus. Don't be late.

J

Will C. said...

hmphhh, and I suppose it's the short bus.
I'll just go read some Chekhov...um... make that watch some Chekov.

Jack H said...

Fletch, Star Trek ... let me invite you to a library.

J

Will C. said...

And why should I bother...I read Forgotten Prophets.

Speaking of movies...I own "The Omega Man" on dvd. Classic Heston in the 70's sci-fi genre. Just found out it is being remade under the title of the book it's based upon "I am Legend". Will Smith is cast in the lead role as Robert Neville.
On another note, one of my favorite shows as a kid was "The Six Million Dollar Man". Based on the book Cyborg by Martin Caidin. Steve Austin was part-hero part robot...what more could a kid want??? Well, just found out it's being remade into a movie. Guess who's in the lead role...Will Smith. OK, its not in stone but there is a teaser trailer on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E5sAPK9K9I

Better yet here is the original show's intro. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMqg3moAHJg
Jack, want to know what makes me tick, well this intro was burned into my mind as a kid (still gives me chills) It was the coolest thing I'd seen at that point in my young life and may be one of the reasons that I am an engineer today.

Jack H said...

My little messages in bottles hardly qualify as a library. Just a peephole onto the passing parade.

When I read "I Am Legion" back in the '70s, I recognized it as Omega Man. That movie was soooo cool. One of those instances where the movie is better than the book. I do look a fair bit like Heston -- especially as I age.

I remember seeing the Six Million Dollar Man pilot back in '73 or whenever. It was boss.

And of course what young man of a certain era doesn't remember The Bionic Woman. Much hotter than Wonder Woman. And Charlie's Angles were sluts in comparison.

The Will Smith Bionic Man trailer is a YouTube hoax. Sounds good though. He's the new Charlton Heston.

Science fiction is all I read during my teens. It's the secret of my success!

J

This is a tie said...

I like that you focus primarily on small scale things people can do to conserve. A lot of what I read now is about large scale (wind tech etc) I think that the best way is to get a lot of houses to conserve a little like with low flow shower heads