[TAG] Hydrogen fuel (non-Linux)
ben at callahans.org
Fri May 21 20:43:38 MSD 2004
On Thu, May 20, 2004 at 11:24:29PM -0600, Jason Creighton wrote:
> On Thu, 20 May 2004 02:29:00 -0700,
> Mike Orr <mso at oz.net> wrote:
> > The reason I'm harping on this is coz it first takes a critical mass of
> > people to think out of the box and decide it's possible, then they have
> > to pressure the politicians and companies to make it happen, and only
> > then will it happen.
> Or it will happen when it's cheaper than oil, whichever comes first. My
> first thought is kind of "just let it go, eventually the problem will
> take care of itself". Because when oil runs out, people will have to
> turn to other things.
Advertising people make millions of dollars by working that particular
belief for all it's worth. If the world really ran that way, every PC
(except for an imperceptible minority, for various reasons) would be
Electric cars already _are_ cheaper, to build, run, and maintain (and
imagine just how much cheaper they'd be if they were being built on the
scale that the regular oil-burners are!) Solar and wind power make
sense in _most_ temperate climate housing. Broad-spectrum fluorescent
lighting can cut power cost by 80 or even 90% im most cases where
incandescent lighting is being used - as well as providing a better
quality light. Somehow, these things have not become universal - in
fact, these are all just barely out of that "imperceptible minority"
I seem to recall Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged" describing the mindset of
people (ab)using a precious resource:
[interpolated rather than quoted; I don't recall the exact words]
"Hell, it's unlimited - it'll never run out!"
"Hey, there's enough for us, our kids, and their kids - why worry?"
"It'll last out our generation, and they'll have to find their own way."
"We've got years of it left, it'll be fine."
"We've got enough to last out the year, and we'll have a solution by then!"
...lather, rinse, repeat - to the point of complete resource exhaustion
and a crisis where the bastards float, unhurt, to the top (as they
always do) and Joe Public pays with his life in the worst case and his
money (representing a chunk of life that he'd spent to earn it) in the
best. Wanna bet? Ask any stockbroker. Shortsightedness is *never* in
> But until then, using oil for everything probably won't do great things
> for the environment. So we should probably have some level of the
> government involvment. Maybe slowly raise emissions standards until oil
> is priced out of the market. Or some such thing; I don't know.
I recall California passing a law - way back in the '80s - where some
percentage of all cars sold by any auto company in California by year X
(2000, I think it was) had to be electric. No idea what became of it;
maybe the Californians among us can enlighten me.
> The issue of the environment is hard for me to figure out in terms of my
> conservative, free-market, small-government ideas. The amount of
> regulation makes me nervous. Because it's YOUR problem if your neighbor
> decides to do something stupid to the groundwater, the government MUST
> have standards regarding what you can put in the air, what you can put
> in the water, what's okay, what's not, etc.
As much of a libertarian as I may be - and it's relatively mild but
firmly fixed in my case - there are actions that must be taken by the
community to protect itself. Defining the limits of that "must" is the
biggest challenge and the greatest danger of the libertarian position -
there are slippery slopes in every direction, with very sweet bait hung
over the first step into each one.
* Ben Okopnik * okopnik.freeshell.org * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette *
-*- See the Linux Gazette in its new home: <http://linuxgazette.net> -*-
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