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Re: Homer wipes out a species

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  • turpin <turpin@yahoo.com>
    ... Perhaps it is not so much that your stats don t sink in, as much as that people accurately realize this is the problem of the commons. The areas we re
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 1, 2003
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      <tenpagyatso>:
      > And from these conversations, which happened
      > quite often (hmmm, maybe that's why I don't
      > work there anymore ;-) it occured to me that
      > many if not most people feel that they as an
      > individual can't make a difference. Ie. my
      > SUV can't make a dent in anything related to
      > the environment. But my quoting stats about
      > how many SUVs there are, how much carbon
      > dumped into the atmosphere etc., didn't seem
      > to sink in.

      Perhaps it is not so much that your stats don't "sink in," as much as
      that people accurately realize this is the problem of the commons.
      The areas we're talking about -- the use of the atmosphere as a
      pollution sink, public space, etc. -- are economic commons that SUV
      drivers use with no incremental cost attached. There is a very real
      sense in which voluntary restraint fails to prevent overuse of
      commons. (The only counterexamples with which I'm familiar are quite
      small scale.) The problem is that each individual's restraint does
      not significantly alter the overall pattern of use, but does impose a
      significant cost on the individuals who exhibit that restraint.

      I think it is quite unlikely that common resources can be conserved
      through individual, voluntary restraint. Instead, it requires some
      kind of political mechanism.
    • Mike Harrington
      Discussion of whether someone should drive an SUV will be academic once world oil production hits its peak in the next ten years. The oil companies,
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 1, 2003
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        Discussion of whether someone should drive an SUV will be academic once world oil production hits its peak in the next ten years. The oil companies, understandably not wanting to frighten investors, have consistently answered the question, "how long will oil supplies last?" But the economic crisis occurs not when the fields are pumped dry but when the production peak is hit, because in subsequent years production declines. The current price of oil is based on the cost of getting it out of the ground plus a profit. Around the time oil production begins its permanent decline, prices will increase dramatically and there will only be the prospect of higher prices in the future.

        The consumer-oriented lifestyle, urban sprawl, and the automobile, all of which were embraced in the mid-twentieth century, will be just a bad hangover sometime early in the twenty-first when oil and natural gas shortages become the rule. One century often ends up despising the previous one, and I think this will be even more obvious in the twenty-first. We've been robbing the future to pay for the present for so long that many think it is normal. The automobile lifestyle will come crashing in on itself, a bad idea that would have never come about had the highway lobby not taken control of government and the press. The whole corrupt, decadent, government-sponsored system encouraging sprawl and more per-capita motor vehicle miles every year is an unnatural one, a violation of economic law and just plain common sense.

        As the energy drama unfolds, carfree cities will become universal. Time is on our side. High energy costs will make denser development the norm, and the sprawling communities of today will be relegated to the dim and distant past. Personal transportation will be prohibitively expensive for all but the most wealthy, and mass transit will be restored to the pre-eminence it had up to the mid-twentieth century. Collective living and transportation will replace the isolation of today's off-ramp society, and freeways will fall into ruin. Communities will have to be close to power plants, and waste heat from power generation will be used for things like space heating. A totally different, conservation-based society will emerge for the ruins of our energy-wasting one.


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <turpin@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 10:01 AM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Homer wipes out a species


        > <tenpagyatso>:
        > > And from these conversations, which happened
        > > quite often (hmmm, maybe that's why I don't
        > > work there anymore ;-) it occured to me that
        > > many if not most people feel that they as an
        > > individual can't make a difference. Ie. my
        > > SUV can't make a dent in anything related to
        > > the environment. But my quoting stats about
        > > how many SUVs there are, how much carbon
        > > dumped into the atmosphere etc., didn't seem
        > > to sink in.
        >
        > Perhaps it is not so much that your stats don't "sink in," as much as
        > that people accurately realize this is the problem of the commons.
        > The areas we're talking about -- the use of the atmosphere as a
        > pollution sink, public space, etc. -- are economic commons that SUV
        > drivers use with no incremental cost attached. There is a very real
        > sense in which voluntary restraint fails to prevent overuse of
        > commons. (The only counterexamples with which I'm familiar are quite
        > small scale.) The problem is that each individual's restraint does
        > not significantly alter the overall pattern of use, but does impose a
        > significant cost on the individuals who exhibit that restraint.
        >
        > I think it is quite unlikely that common resources can be conserved
        > through individual, voluntary restraint. Instead, it requires some
        > kind of political mechanism.
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • turpin <turpin@yahoo.com>
        ... Possibly. But I doubt it. The lights didn t go out when whaling reached its peak and started to decline. There are other sources of energy besides oil and
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 1, 2003
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          "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...> wrote:
          > The consumer-oriented lifestyle, urban sprawl,
          > and the automobile, all of which were embraced
          > in the mid-twentieth century, will be just a
          > bad hangover sometime early in the twenty-first
          > when oil and natural gas shortages become the
          > rule.

          Possibly. But I doubt it. The lights didn't go out when whaling
          reached its peak and started to decline. There are other sources of
          energy besides oil and natural gas. That these haven't had more use
          is only because oil and natural gas have become even cheaper, in real
          terms, than they were at times past. Oil has other uses, of course,
          and the materials and chemical industries could be hard hit by an oil
          shortage. On the other hand, these industries also will be
          revolutionized by some coming technologies.

          I think people make a mistake when they hang the issues of urban
          transportation on where the energy will come from. The energy *will*
          come from some place, and likely will be even cheaper per BTU a
          hundred years from now. In fifty years, electric vehicles with nano-
          manufactured components zipping down minimal-asphalt roads charged by
          non-petroleum energy sources could present exactly the same problems
          as do today's gas-fueled cars: congestion, danger to pedestrians,
          sprawl, inconvenient commutes, etc. These problems do not originate
          in where the energy originates, but in how transportation is
          subsidized and how cities are organized.
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... While we shouldn t downplay the potential role of energy shortages in moving the carfree agenda forward, neither should we hang the whole thing on this one
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 2, 2003
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            turpin said:

            >I think people make a mistake when they hang the issues of urban
            >transportation on where the energy will come from. The energy *will*
            >come from some place, and likely will be even cheaper per BTU a
            >hundred years from now. In fifty years, electric vehicles with nano-
            >manufactured components zipping down minimal-asphalt roads charged by
            >non-petroleum energy sources could present exactly the same problems
            >as do today's gas-fueled cars: congestion, danger to pedestrians,
            >sprawl, inconvenient commutes, etc. These problems do not originate
            >in where the energy originates, but in how transportation is
            >subsidized and how cities are organized.

            While we shouldn't downplay the potential role of energy shortages
            in moving the carfree agenda forward, neither should we hang the
            whole thing on this one issue. As we all know, there are many reasons
            to make the change, and we should always try to bring all of them
            forward, even in this day of simple-minded media.

            Regards,



            -- ### --

            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... Carfree.com
          • Richard Risemberg
            ... All the more important, as one energy field the car addicts will certainly approach--it can work with present-day engines after a slight tweak--is
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 2, 2003
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              J.H. Crawford wrote:
              > turpin said:
              >
              >
              >>I think people make a mistake when they hang the issues of urban
              >>transportation on where the energy will come from. The energy *will*
              >>come from some place, and likely will be even cheaper per BTU a
              >>hundred years from now.


              > While we shouldn't downplay the potential role of energy shortages
              > in moving the carfree agenda forward, neither should we hang the
              > whole thing on this one issue. As we all know, there are many reasons
              > to make the change, and we should always try to bring all of them
              > forward, even in this day of simple-minded media.


              All the more important, as one energy field the car addicts will
              certainly approach--it can work with present-day engines after a slight
              tweak--is ethanol/methanol. The call for more fuel plantations could
              make rainforest destruction seem paltry by comparison.... Even a
              mythical car that used NO energy would still cause extreme social and
              environmental damage.

              Richard
              --
              Richard Risemberg
              http://www.living-room.org
              http://www.newcolonist.com

              "Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is
              just like the roads across the earth. For actually there were no roads
              to begin with, but when many people pass one way a road is made."

              Lu Hsun
            • Erik Rauch
              ... Yes - if we don t stress the positive reasons for carfree development, people will continue to ignore the disadvantages to how things are done now, even as
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 2, 2003
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                > turpin said:
                >
                > >I think people make a mistake when they hang the issues of urban
                > >transportation on where the energy will come from.

                On Thu, 2 Jan 2003, J.H. Crawford wrote:

                > While we shouldn't downplay the potential role of energy shortages
                > in moving the carfree agenda forward, neither should we hang the
                > whole thing on this one issue. As we all know, there are many reasons
                > to make the change, and we should always try to bring all of them
                > forward, even in this day of simple-minded media.

                Yes - if we don't stress the positive reasons for carfree development,
                people will continue to ignore the disadvantages to how things are done
                now, even as they get worse. If we present it only in terms of fixing a
                problem, it's easier for people to deny that the problem exists.
              • Mike Harrington
                You have more faith in technology than I do. Oil, a high-density hydrocarbon that has no known replacement, will see declining production worldwide early in
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 3, 2003
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                  You have more faith in technology than I do. Oil, a high-density
                  hydrocarbon that has no known replacement, will see declining production
                  worldwide early in this century, so I don't think traffic jams will even be
                  remembered fifty years from now. There is no substitute that can replace
                  oil, and humanity uses four barrels for every barrel found. The only thing
                  I can think of that might produce cheap energy to make the scenario you
                  describe possible, is controlled hydrogen fusion. Fusion's chances as
                  things stand now are pretty remote, and throwing a lot of money at fusion
                  development may not help, since no one alive knows if it could even be made
                  to work, wishful thinking notwithstanding. The perilous global energy
                  situation will become clearer as time goes on, and Carfree Cities, a great
                  idea today, will be a economic necessity well before fifty years is up.

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: <turpin@...>
                  To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 5:51 PM
                  Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Homer wipes out a species


                  > "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...> wrote:
                  > > The consumer-oriented lifestyle, urban sprawl,
                  > > and the automobile, all of which were embraced
                  > > in the mid-twentieth century, will be just a
                  > > bad hangover sometime early in the twenty-first
                  > > when oil and natural gas shortages become the
                  > > rule.
                  >
                  > Possibly. But I doubt it. The lights didn't go out when whaling
                  > reached its peak and started to decline. There are other sources of
                  > energy besides oil and natural gas. That these haven't had more use
                  > is only because oil and natural gas have become even cheaper, in real
                  > terms, than they were at times past. Oil has other uses, of course,
                  > and the materials and chemical industries could be hard hit by an oil
                  > shortage. On the other hand, these industries also will be
                  > revolutionized by some coming technologies.
                  >
                  > I think people make a mistake when they hang the issues of urban
                  > transportation on where the energy will come from. The energy *will*
                  > come from some place, and likely will be even cheaper per BTU a
                  > hundred years from now. In fifty years, electric vehicles with nano-
                  > manufactured components zipping down minimal-asphalt roads charged by
                  > non-petroleum energy sources could present exactly the same problems
                  > as do today's gas-fueled cars: congestion, danger to pedestrians,
                  > sprawl, inconvenient commutes, etc. These problems do not originate
                  > in where the energy originates, but in how transportation is
                  > subsidized and how cities are organized.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                  > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Mike Harrington
                  The problem with ethanol/methanol production is that it is much more expensive than refined oil products. It is also dependent upon cheap energy prices,
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 3, 2003
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                    The problem with ethanol/methanol production is that it is much more
                    expensive than refined oil products. It is also dependent upon cheap energy
                    prices, because refiners need to add 70% more energy than customers get out
                    of it. When energy prices go up, the price of ethanol will rise even
                    faster.

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Richard Risemberg" <rickrise@...>
                    To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 8:30 AM
                    Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Homer wipes out a species


                    > J.H. Crawford wrote:
                    > > turpin said:
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >>I think people make a mistake when they hang the issues of urban
                    > >>transportation on where the energy will come from. The energy *will*
                    > >>come from some place, and likely will be even cheaper per BTU a
                    > >>hundred years from now.
                    >
                    >
                    > > While we shouldn't downplay the potential role of energy shortages
                    > > in moving the carfree agenda forward, neither should we hang the
                    > > whole thing on this one issue. As we all know, there are many reasons
                    > > to make the change, and we should always try to bring all of them
                    > > forward, even in this day of simple-minded media.
                    >
                    >
                    > All the more important, as one energy field the car addicts will
                    > certainly approach--it can work with present-day engines after a slight
                    > tweak--is ethanol/methanol. The call for more fuel plantations could
                    > make rainforest destruction seem paltry by comparison.... Even a
                    > mythical car that used NO energy would still cause extreme social and
                    > environmental damage.
                    >
                    > Richard
                    > --
                    > Richard Risemberg
                    > http://www.living-room.org
                    > http://www.newcolonist.com
                    >
                    > "Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is
                    > just like the roads across the earth. For actually there were no roads
                    > to begin with, but when many people pass one way a road is made."
                    >
                    > Lu Hsun
                    >
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                    carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                    > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • J.H. Crawford
                    ... Gas and coal can easily substitute for petroleum. The conversion is not especially efficient or inexpensive, but it s quite feasible at costs not far above
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 4, 2003
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                      Mike Harrington said:

                      >You have more faith in technology than I do. Oil, a high-density
                      >hydrocarbon that has no known replacement, will see declining production
                      >worldwide early in this century, so I don't think traffic jams will even be
                      >remembered fifty years from now.

                      Gas and coal can easily substitute for petroleum. The conversion is
                      not especially efficient or inexpensive, but it's quite feasible at
                      costs not far above today's oil prices.

                      >The problem with ethanol/methanol production is that it is much more
                      >expensive than refined oil products. It is also dependent upon cheap energy
                      >prices, because refiners need to add 70% more energy than customers get out
                      >of it. When energy prices go up, the price of ethanol will rise even
                      >faster.

                      According to the latest information I have seen, ethanol production is
                      now a net energy gainer, albeit not by all that much. One of the questions
                      will be whether or not we have enough land and water to use it for growing
                      a crop that produces only moderate net energy gain.

                      Regards,


                      -- ### --

                      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                      mailbox@... Carfree.com
                    • turpin <turpin@yahoo.com>
                      ... Fifty years from now, I would not be the least surprised if phytogenetic engineers design artificial plants that not only produce ethanol, but whose
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 4, 2003
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                        "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...> wrote:
                        > According to the latest information
                        > I have seen, ethanol production is
                        > now a net energy gainer, albeit not
                        > by all that much. One of the
                        > questions will be whether or not we
                        > have enough land and water to use
                        > it for growing a crop that produces
                        > only moderate net energy gain.

                        Fifty years from now, I would not be
                        the least surprised if phytogenetic
                        engineers design artificial plants
                        that not only produce ethanol, but
                        whose growing roots link into a
                        network allowing the workers to plug
                        the field straight into a collection
                        pipe. Of course, this is as
                        speculative as betting on fusion or
                        any other plan. It is even more
                        speculative think that the 21st
                        century will be the one where energy
                        availability declines. My suspicion,
                        which I'll repeat, is that we'll see
                        a bigger problem in the materials
                        and chemicals industries. It's one
                        thing do something other than burn
                        oil for energy. It's harder to find
                        CHEAP replacement processes for
                        making plastic or asphalt. But in
                        fifty years, we'll see something
                        better than rubber tree plantations.
                        There's no going back.
                      • Mike Harrington
                        I m no scientist, but I recognize unbridled optimism when I hear it, and expensive processes like coal gassification and ethanol from bio sources will be poor
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 5, 2003
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                          I'm no scientist, but I recognize unbridled optimism when I hear it, and
                          expensive processes like coal gassification and ethanol from bio sources
                          will be poor substitutes once the primary energy sources, oil and natural
                          gas, start their permanent production declines. I stand by my original
                          statement that there are no good replacements for these primary energy
                          sources.

                          Hydrogenation of coal was widely used by the Nazis because of the sparse oil
                          reserves in their blockaded territory. It requires much energy input, and
                          was made "economically" possible only by a million slave laborers that were
                          worked to death. Coal gassification also has serious environmental
                          consequences when employed on a vast scale. Oil shale processing is even
                          more environmentally destructive.

                          Your claim that the 71% additional energy required to transform biomass into
                          fuel has now turned into a net energy gain sounds like the information
                          recently intimated to Congress by well-paid agribusiness lobbyists. When
                          you look at the subsidies and tax breaks companies like Archer Daniels
                          Midland get, it's not surprising that they would attempt to circulate
                          fraudulent scientific "facts" about ethanol production to get Washington to
                          send them even more money. The agricultural oligopoly pay off both the left
                          and the right, there doesn't seem to be much difference between Bush and the
                          Democrats:
                          http://www.townhall.com/columnists/michellemalkin/mm20020828.shtml

                          Whether your production cost savings claim is correct or not, when energy
                          prices permanently rise at the time global production peaks, the cost of
                          agricultural products will climb accordingly, likely leading to widespread
                          famine.

                          Rationalizations such as these come from the last, desperate attempts of the
                          elites to sustain the twin urban sprawl/unlimited auto use taxpayer subsidy
                          schemes hatched in post-WWII America. The whole system presumes unlimited
                          cheap land and energy, and both Bush and the Democrats are grasping at
                          straws to maintain the fiction that this wasteful, high-consumption economic
                          system can somehow perpetuate itself, rather than the more realistic option
                          of coming to terms with energy conservation. Unbridled optimism is just
                          another term for wishful thinking, and that will increase as the end of the
                          current era gets closer. The obligation to extend utilities and highways
                          into greenfield areas at the expense of taxpayers and utility ratepayers has
                          created a mechanism of spiraling energy and land use. Developers build
                          gated subdivisions, big box stores with wraparound parking lots, and
                          business strip centers which then become suburban slums in twenty years.
                          The whole cycle repeats endlessly as new heretofore rural areas are
                          expropriated due to the pressure of developers and highway interests. This
                          cycle always results in increased energy waste, since the normal constraints
                          against ever more land and energy use are subsidized out of existence. It
                          always has been a real house of cards, and the leadership have been in
                          denial since US domestic oil production hit its peak in 1970. Economists
                          religiously avoid the topic of the coming energy crisis, as if energy
                          problems weren't at the root of the most recent stock market crash. Even
                          though all the warning signs are clear, the economics community chooses to
                          ignore them.

                          The longing members of carfree_cities have for a society built on the scale
                          of the individual, not the automobile, is a lawful result of the perversion
                          of the laws of science and economics by the unnatural influence that
                          taxpayer subsidy of sprawl has had on North America. Urban sprawl is not
                          the result of a free market, but is instead reflective of governments that
                          attempt to legislate and adjudicate against a free market, by making people
                          in existing developments subsidize the suburbanization of greenfields. In
                          addition to the unconscionable squandering of energy resources, the
                          phenomenon of carburbs has created the loneliest, most isolated and obese
                          society ever known. There are more people physically stranded than ever
                          before in North America since walking, bicycling, and streetcars were
                          replaced by the automobile and the off-ramp, and their numbers will only
                          increase. Until the greenfield development/brownfield abandonment cycle is
                          broken, things will get worse, not better. Fix the problem in North America
                          and the rest of the world will follow. There's never been a more important
                          time for a group such as this.

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Saturday, January 04, 2003 2:48 AM
                          Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: oil replacement


                          >
                          > Mike Harrington said:
                          >
                          > >You have more faith in technology than I do. Oil, a high-density
                          > >hydrocarbon that has no known replacement, will see declining production
                          > >worldwide early in this century, so I don't think traffic jams will even
                          be
                          > >remembered fifty years from now.
                          >
                          > Gas and coal can easily substitute for petroleum. The conversion is
                          > not especially efficient or inexpensive, but it's quite feasible at
                          > costs not far above today's oil prices.
                          >
                          > >The problem with ethanol/methanol production is that it is much more
                          > >expensive than refined oil products. It is also dependent upon cheap
                          energy
                          > >prices, because refiners need to add 70% more energy than customers get
                          out
                          > >of it. When energy prices go up, the price of ethanol will rise even
                          > >faster.
                          >
                          > According to the latest information I have seen, ethanol production is
                          > now a net energy gainer, albeit not by all that much. One of the questions
                          > will be whether or not we have enough land and water to use it for growing
                          > a crop that produces only moderate net energy gain.
                          >
                          > Regards,
                          >
                          >
                          > -- ### --
                          >
                          > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                          > mailbox@... Carfree.com
                          >
                          >
                          > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                          carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                          > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                          >
                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • John O. Andersen
                          ... This is one of the negative fallouts from teamplayermania. After so much teamplayerish brainwashing, people start to believe that anything of value is
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 23, 2003
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                            > And from these conversations, which happened quite often (hmmm, maybe
                            > that's why I don't work there anymore ;-) it occured to me that many
                            > if not most people feel that they as an individual can't make a
                            > difference. This feeling seems to involve not only making a
                            > difference positively but also making a difference negatively.

                            This is one of the negative fallouts from teamplayermania. After so much
                            teamplayerish brainwashing, people start to believe that anything of value
                            is accomplished by a team. Individualism, by implication, is inferior.

                            John Andersen
                            http://www.unconventionalideas.com
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