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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: NYTimes.com Article: Op-Ed Columnist: Fly Me to the Moon

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  • Christopher Miller
    ... I suppose, though, that a generous reading of alternative energy and conservation might imply cutting back on -- and cutting out as far as possible --
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 6, 2004
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      On 6 Dec 2004, at 12:27 PM, emccaughrin wrote:

      > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, rickrise@e... wrote:
      >>
      >> (...) a crash science initiative for
      >> alternative energy and conservation to make America
      >> energy-independent in 10 years. Imagine if every American
      >> kid, in every school, were galvanized around such a vision.
      >
      > I really wish these editorial writers would take a crash course in
      > thermodynamics. How many times now have we seen editorials written
      > by scientifically illiterate morons that seem to think there is some
      > miracle technological solution out there to make Americans
      > energy "independent" while at the same time driving 4+ ton vehicles
      > 25 miles per day? It doesn't matter how much money is thrown at the
      > NSF -- nobody is going to invent a perpetual motion device.

      I suppose, though, that a generous reading of "alternative energy and
      conservation" might imply cutting back on -- and cutting out as far as
      possible -- wasteful modes of transport, which would imply a need for
      scientific research on improving urban environments and reshaping the
      suburban landscape around more intelligent transportation choices (an
      enormous, complex task that would require a lot of experimentation and
      modelling). I can imagine that the NSF could fund a lot of very useful
      research in these areas. A U.S. Carfree Institute, like what Joel
      Crawford hopes to set up at some point, would stand to benefit
      enormously from NSF research funding channelled into this area.

      Long distance transportation-related news: an interesting article on
      today's CBC website about a tomato shortage in Canada due to bad
      weather earlier this year in the California and Florida
      tomato-producing regions:

      http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/12/06/tomato-
      shortages041206.html

      This is but a "foretaste" of what could be expected with increasing
      transportation costs, with or without further (perhaps global
      warming-induced) weather problems -- just the kind of thing Jim
      Kunstler, among others, warns about.

      Chris Miller
      Washington DC, USA
    • emccaughrin
      ... You are being far too generous. The idea clearly being advocated by Mr. Friedman -- and an embarassing number of environmental organizations -- is that
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 7, 2004
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        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Miller
        <christophermiller@m...> wrote:
        >
        > I suppose, though, that a generous reading of "alternative energy
        > and conservation" might imply cutting back on -- and cutting out
        > as far as possible -- wasteful modes of transport

        You are being far too generous. The idea clearly being advocated by
        Mr. Friedman -- and an embarassing number of "environmental"
        organizations -- is that we blow billions on white elephant projects
        like "intelligent" highway systems, hydrogen highways (i.e. "21st-
        century fuel"), battery-powered hummers, etc. For politicians
        (Democrat and Republican) it is a "win-win-win" situation. They can
        say to their constituents that they are "environmental" by funding
        such programs without having to make any of the difficult decisions
        about reducing the gigantic subsidies sustaining sprawl.

        > which would imply a need for scientific research on improving
        > urban environments and reshaping the suburban landscape around
        > more intelligent transportation choices (an enormous, complex
        > task that would require a lot of experimentation and
        > modelling).

        Reearch what, exactly?

        Designing energy efficient cities and transport systems is already a
        solved problem. Off-the-shelf technology already in use today could
        eliminate America's energy deficit. But until the various structural
        problems are fixed, there is no market incentive to do so.
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