Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Prius Vs. Hummer

My brother just sent me a link to this article. It opens with the following paragraph:
The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care. Unfortunately for them, their ultimate ‘green car’ is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America; it takes more combined energy per Prius to produce than a Hummer.

Good points are raised in the article, using extreme examples. a CNW Marketing report is cited as the primary source. In it, various vehicles are evaluated from an environmental point of view, but not purely based on emissions generated while driving. The energy (and pollution) equation for a single vehicle is much greater than it's fuel efficiency. The main downfall of the Prius is the Nickel that is used in its batteries, and the great distances that this nickel travels around the world being processed before it makes it into the vehicle.
I appreciate the full equation approach when evaluating vehicles, appliances, etc. For example, ethanol fuel - most of it is corn based, ie. processed from corn grains. The corn is grown using fertilizers and pesticides, most of which are fossil fuel based. It is harvested and processed using equipment which runs on diesel (most tractors). It is refined in a plant likely running on fossil fuel power (natural gas or oil) or coal, or nuclear. You can use it in your car and feel good about yourself, because you are burning a 'green-fuel' in your car, but that's looking at it from a very narrow viewpoint. Give me some other examples...

Update: Apparently someone has uploaded this article to an auto discussion forum, and it has generated some serious debate.
“My objective was to align these communications with the administration’s stated policy,” so says Philip Cooney, former chief of staff to President Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality who made hundreds of edits to government climate reports in ways that played down links between human activity and global warming.

Hearing statements like this can pretty much cause someone to jump straight from naively having hope in politics and democracy to cynicism and outright distrust, without passing 'Go', without collecting $200...

He's basically saying that he edited documents published by scientists so that they corresponded with the government's policys and stated positions. Sounds a bit Orwellian, doesn't it?

Sometimes I wish I didn't read the news, or become informed. I could go about my days in ignorant bliss.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

This is a prime example of a Fungineer. Well done.

CBC News: the fifth estate - The Lies that Led to War

I'm not normally an angry person. I'm usually pretty good natured, have an alright sense of humour, can laugh at most things - can be serious when I need to be. Last night was the first night in a long long time that I didn't have to do anything. So, I did my taxes (boring) and watched some basketball, 'house' (a re-run) and then caught a bit of 'the fifth estate'. CBC does documentaries well. Last night's was titled "The Lies that Led to War" about the lead-up to the current war in Iraq. It was hard hitting, and angering. It made me angry for so many reasons. One, it exposed the ignorance of the massess (myself included) at the background and context to the war. It talked about how when Bush mentioned that Saddam had used chemical warefare on his own people (killing approx 30,000) that the States were fully aware of it, and had supplied them with helicoptors and aid (financing) which was intended to help them in the war against Iran (this is all back in the 80's), but were aware that they would also be used for other purposes. It talked about how basically every other reason that Bush gave for going to war with Iraq was based on lies, bad information, or was itself a lie. It is very angering. The complexities of the Middle east are covered over by simplistic statements in the media and by government. It talked about how the media had abandoned it's post, no longer asking questions that need to be asked, but rather becoming the propoganda mouthpiece of the administration. Things are said by Bush, which basically say that if you are the voice of dissent you're a traitor - if you oppose the war - you're no better than them, "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists". Well, if only it was that simple. I'd like to be with you, but who are you with? At one point in time you (the american gov't) propped up Saddam with aid. Now you're against him. Who are you propping up this time that a decade from now will be a feared dictator?
I'm quite honestly sick of the current Bush administration - I have been for a long time. But, will a change actually be a change? Even if he's impeached (he lied about more than an intern), will that change anything? It's hard to be an optimist in this. I don't understand how people still support this administration after all the lies they've told, after the war they started, after all the dead American soldiers, after all the wounded (emotionally, physically, and psychologically) soldiers, after all the dead Iraqi's, innocent civilians, Shi'ites, Kuurds, Sunni's...
I'm not with you, so I must be with the terrorists.
But, I'm not with them either. Mr. President, thanks for the identity crisis. Who am I with?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My favorite part of today's dilbert is the consistency of Wally's character, as demonstrated in the third frame. Check out how much coffee is in the pot that he's handing to Asok...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rex Murphy, on Hollywood, Christianity and the need for a Pope.