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Thread: : Al Gore - A Generational Challenge to Repower America
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face BY : Vitaliy email (remove spam text)



Byron Jeff wrote:
>> 2. Developing lighter cars with more efficient IC engines.
>
> No. Oil and gas are non renewable, polluting, expensive resources. Retool
> the infrastructure so that for transporation and heating you don't need
> it.

First, there's actually lots of oil available, when people talk of "running
out of oil" they mean the "easily accessible" oil. When you have cars that
get 100 mpg, paying $10 or even more per gallon isn't that big a deal -- and
suddenly oil fields that were cost prohibitive to develop, cease to be so.

Second, if oil is not used to make electricity, there's less demand for it,
resulting in less polution and lower cost per barrel.

Third, diesel engines do not necessarily need mineral oil-based fuel. They
happily run on vegetable oil or peanut butter. At last year's annual Clean
Air Conference (CAC) there was a presentation on using inexpensive algae
farms to produce biofuel.

Fourth, diesel engines have a reputation for being dirty, but there have
been significant technological breakthroughs in the past two decades that
make it possible to talk about "clean diesel". A guy did a presentation on
"Green Diesel" at a local SAE meeting, according to him there are cars on
the roads in Europe that actually pollute *less* than gasoline powered cars,
thanks to computer control and solid particle filters. Better refined fuel
also makes a big difference.

> Solar power satellites would become viable if we make the effort to lower
> the cost of lifting stuff into space.

How likely is that?

> But the cost of the oil to produce the diesel will keep rising. It's like
> ther frog sitting in the pot of water that's slowing rising to boiling. By
> the time you realize that you can't afford to keep doing it that way, it's
> too late.

As I've said above, it's possible to reduce demand and increase supply, and
there are alternatives to mineral oil.

> But there are virtually no EVs on the road. And that will continue
> until gas and diesel cost too much for people to pay for.

We're starting to see it happen.

> It's really not a matter of storing energy. It's a matter of not having an
> infrastrcture in place for fast refueling. The California PATH project did
> studies on electrified roadways nearly 15 years ago. They had a 15 ton
> electric bus drive continuously for 8 hours transferring power inductively
> from the roadway. Put that technology into the nation's interstate highway
> system and electric cars become practical.

I can't see this system being very efficient, nor cheap. Why spend the
trillions that the new infrastructure will require, not to mention the
pollution that it will create, when the IC infrastructure is already there?

> Your belief that folks in a free market will do the right thing is
> downright scary to me. It's been shown over and over that when an industry
> is deregulated, that the unscrupulous will do anything and everything to
> make a buck.

First, let me just say that there is nothing wrong or shameful about wanting
to "make a buck", in fact that's the secret behind the success of
capitalism: individual acting out of self-interest creates benefit for the
society.

Whenever an industry is deregulated, you always see a drastic increase in
efficiency. Usually when people talk about the woes of deregulation
nowadays, they mean the housing market crash. I'd be happy to address this
issue separately if anyone is interested. For now, suffice it to say that I
believe that deregulation has nothing to do with the crash, although other
government actions are. In the best interest of everybody, things should
have been left alone, but it is too late now (the bill was just passed, and
the President said he'll sign it).

A control theory instructor at the MASTERS mentioned that, by the way, the
stock market (or any market for that matter) is an inherently unstable
system. It is normal for it to have "ups" and "downs" at regular intervals.
Adding constant input (on/off) to such system is disastrous, but that is
exactly what the government is doing.

> I guess we just stand on opposite sides of this issue.

Byron, I respect you a lot, and I don't want you to take what I'm about to
say, personally.

There are certain groups, namely trade unions, government contractors, trial
lawyers, government workers, and college professors, who directly benefit
from the government's "redistribution of wealth" and therefore support the
government, and oppose those who consider such actions unfair (private
businesses).

I assure you that if you were a small business owner, you would see things
very differently. I've worked with union workers, and had contact with
unionized government workers (postal employees) on a daily basis, and
although I'm sure there are good people among them, they appear to be the
laziest, most unproductive bunch of people I have ever seen. That's just how
the system works -- USPS folks and union workers are grossly overpaid,
underworked, and have virtually permanent job security. There is little
incentive to work hard, be polite to a customer, or, say -- come to work
sober.

On the other hand, you have small business owners, who work 10 and 15 hour
days, sometimes even Saturdays and Sundays, just to make ends meet --  
because the government takes a lion's share of the profit. It hurts even
more when they see how that money is being spent (wasted).

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government-sponsored organizations) should not
have been bailed out. 400,000 home owners (less than 1% of all homeowners)
who made a stupid decision, should not have been bailed out, either. Did you
know that the recent bill allocates $300B to "help insure" troubled
mortgages? That means that roughly $4000 that our family of four paid in
taxes, will go straight into this fund. Did you know that people who bought
houses between April 2007 and July 2008, will get a $7500 tax credit? We
bought our (first and only) house in 2005, its value has also dropped, but
we get no such credit. I don't think it's fair, and it is just another
example why the government should not mess with the economy.

Everyone would be much better off if the government just left things alone.

Vitaliy

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