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  1. #451
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Is there any way to combat this evil scourge? Can we change their diet or something? I know Taco Bell has this effect on me.
    Kangaroos I believe. Can't get milk from them though.

  2. #452
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Are you aware that an estimated >30% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the flatulence of the global cattle stock? (No joke; these estimates come from the U.N., not ExxonMobil or such, so, not that I trust the U.N. as a perfect source of information or anything, but, personally, I see no reason why they would be incentivized to overstate these estimates [in fact, I would see why they might be disincentivized to do so {although, now that I think about it, I believe the head of the U.N.P.C.C. may be an Indian, and possibly a Hindu, so... }].)
    Actually... I didn't know that!

    Well, in that case, I would say that if greenhouse gas emission from cows becomes a problem, we should limit the population of cattle. No, we don't force everyone to become vegetarians, but we do drive up the price of beef.


    My position is that no one actually knows whether the way we are currently doing things is necessarily unsustainable and bad for everyone, and that, in light of our ignorance, it is questionable whether or not taking extreme action, which would inimitably have very significant costs, is really worth it.

    I'm not saying that the current way is not unsustainable, I'm just saying that we don't really know whether that is the case.

    There are potential costs (aka risks) down the road if we choose not to act, or there are certain costs right now (that may actually be completely unnecessary) if we choose to act.

    In light of our state of ignorance, how certain can we be that the costs that we would incur right now actually outweigh the potential costs we may or may not incur in the future? And how likely is it that unforeseen variables will arise over the next 50-100 years that could totally change that delicate balance?



    Well, as I said above, I don't believe we really know whether this is true.
    Well, okay, if we don't know this... then perhaps it is too soon to act. I was under the impression that we had a pretty good idea about how bad things would get. It's often discussed as though we have a high degree of certainty.

    Well, I will defer to Churchill here, and say, "Democracy is the worst form of government... after all the other ones."

    What you are decrying as a problem of democracy, I could just as well extol as one of its virtues.

    I, on the whole, trust private investors to make wiser capital allocation decisions than I do government entities: hence, as I said before, the lesson of the 20th century (market economy > command economy).
    Under most circumstances... it's just that when it comes to inelastic needs, sometimes the market can make very bad choices and needs to be corrected. I'm not saying we should have a command economy, so much as that there needs to be someone overseeing it and correcting it when necessary. For the most part, the market DOES do a good job regulating itself, it's just that occasionally situations arise where it doesn't work well because it tends to be a little short-sighted.

    Could you explain this simile? I don't think I understand it...
    Oh. Basically, I'm saying that Americans have a very bad habit of making decisions based on what's comfortable in the moment, and don't make plans for their future or adapt to emerging trends quickly enough. While many other countries are focusing on the future, and making sacrifices that we're not willing to make.


    IIRC (and I read this a long time ago, so I'm gunna keep the ranges rather large), pollution produced by a ZEV, ULEV, and/or LEV today is about 2% of what the average car produced some 30-50 years ago. Being from Southern California, I can say that, while our air quality is still not the best, it is far better than it used to be in the 1970s and 80s (and this, despite many more cars being on the road these days). In light of these facts, I don't see why, with tighter emissions and fuel economy standards, and possibly even a total shift to electronic vehicles (fueled by electricity from renewable and atomic energy sources), we could not keep driving cars, and just let technological innovation and smart regulation lead us to achieving our pollution goals.
    Well, the problem is the amount of petroleum used to make tires and in the production of the cars. We won't have much problem finding an alternate fuel source, though it might be expensive at first. We just have to figure out how to produce products without petroleum. Lots of plastics, tires, and other things. A lot of people are saying that there may be no cheap substitute for it that would allow the scale of transportation and production that we're accustomed to having.

    Well, truth be told, the US model is already a primarily market economy with significant government oversight, as are most developed (and even many emerging) countries.

    The best way to think about this issue is on a spectrum: with total government control of the economy on one side of the spectrum, and no government intervention on the other side of the spectrum. Most every economy in the world falls somewhere between those two poles, not directly on either one of the poles.

    You seem to be of the opinion that the American model should shift more towards the government control side of the spectrum; other people think the American model is just fine where it is; and others, even, think we need to move to less government control of the economy.

    I, personally, am one of the people who would generally tend to prefer less government control of the economy, but, years prior to the onset of this crisis, was loudly and insistently proclaiming that the paradigm of believing that deregulation and the free market created some sort of Liebnizian "best possible state of the world" scenario was inevitably going to choke on its own hubris by leading us into a crisis caused specifically by lack of proper regulation.

    Many people thought I was a rather cantankerous asshole in the years leading up to the crisis, due to my strongly held beliefs on the matter, but, ever since the onset of the crisis, people have more or less come to admit that what I was ranting and raving about was really spot on all along.

    That being disclosed, I believe we are experiencing a natural swing back to the pole of more government intervention in the economy after a 25-30 year period of moving towards the pole of less government intervention in the economy.

    This is probably a necessary swing, but, at the same time, more government regulation/intervention/control is not some end-all, be-all solution to our problems, nor will it be beneficial in all ways/all of the time; there are pitfalls and problems with increased government regulation/intervention/control of the economy, and, as we move towards that pole, we will start seeing evidence that that this is indeed the case.

    And then we will start swinging back.

    (As I'm sure you know, we're already having this broader debate in the U.S., of which the debate over the potential repealing of the healthcare bill is a quintessential example.)
    Well, it sounds like you're probably right on the mark, then... we did have a glut of deregulation which allowed various things to go terribly wrong. We've been very close to having almost no regulation for a long time, though it's been increasing recently. I do hope that we find that proper balance sooner rather than later.


    I'm glad you bring this point up, because, well, in light of what I stated above -- that we are actually in a state of ignorance about the potential costs of not acting in a manner similar to what you've recommended -- it would seem that the price of oil would be one of those variables that would have a major effect on what would be the right thing to do.
    The only thing that worries me, is how far we'll go to keep getting new supplies of oil and keep the prices down as long as possible. Will we rack up more debt and keep invading more countries? Or will we let the market do it's job here and let the supply of oil shrink at a normal pace?
    If it remains relatively cheap compared to other energy sources, then there's less reason for us to change; if it gets relatively expensive compared to other energy sources, then there's more reason for us to change.

    Personally, I believe that, in light of the possibility that we could very well hit peak oil over the next 10, 20, or 30 years (no matter what anybody says, oil is becoming more difficult to find -- there are a whole slew of quotes from the highest-level oil exec's essentially proclaiming as much), it would probably be smart for us to start moving away from dependence on it, both as a source of fuel for our cars, and in all the thousands of products we make from it.

    The question, though, becomes: if we indeed will hit peak oil sometime in the foreseeable future, would it be wiser to just let the free market determine what we do, as it will choose the most efficient and economical process available to create the products we need, in light of whatever the price of oil ends up being over the next several decades?
    The main problem is, that there may not be a cheap alternative to oil, and that by the time oil gets so expensive that we're seeking one, everything that depends on oil right now in our economy may come to a screeching halt. Transportation of goods and people might become too expensive in general, making our society as it exists inoperable. That's the scenario I'm afraid of and want to avoid.

    To summarize:
    • increase fuel economy and emissions standards
    • possibly institute a mandate towards electric cars
    • increase production of atomic energy
    • increase production of renewable energy
    • allow the free market to take care of as much of this stuff as possible, but accept that government intervention will be necessary to a rather significant degree
    Well, I think that we should try those things. Although, a lot of groups are going to protest atomic energy. That's why we don't have more of it right now.

    But if those can work, and we can find substitutes for petroleum in all the areas we need to before it runs out, we will be fine.

  3. #453
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    Beans are an excellent source of protein and iron, and nuts are very high in protein.

    People who eat too much meat and not enough vegetables have higher cholesterol and get colon cancer, it's why the Atkins Diet is bad for you, and why people used to die of bowel obstructions and stuff back in the day.

    Everything in moderation. You need fiber, carbs, and vitamins just as much as you need protein and calories.

    I am not a vegetarian, but I do eat vegetarian meals.

    Also, here's some pictures of vegetarian body builders and athletes. Some of these guys are too big, even, like disgustingly over-muscled.

    [YOUTUBE="nIcSuA2b_Wc"]not at all in any way promoting veg lifestyle, just answering your questions[/YOUTUBE]
    Most of the time veggie body builders and athletes are less swollen than the carnivores. The meat carries a lot more stuff than beans, soy, and all that, so that will reflect in body composition.

  4. #454
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    You need carbs and meat doesnt have any. Vegetables/fruits provide a much more nutrient rich food the other sources of carbs. You also need protien to build muscle. Females do not build muscle as much as men do because of different hormones. Men need more meat then women do. When I was dieting I had maintained a 20-25% fat, 30-35% carbs, and 40-45% protien. Carbs were mixture of fruits/vegetables/bread. Some may do better swapping the protein and carb percentages.

  5. #455
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I think that government intervention is the only way we're going to get people to give up their cars now.

    My idea is this:

    1. ...
    2. ...
    3. ...
    4. ...

    The problem is, the people are never going to go for this plan. It has to be implemented from the top down... and America just isn't very good at doing that, as a democracy.
    Oog. The plan wouldn't work, because no such plan would work. The amount of resource management we're talking about is huge. The reason market economies work is that people end up managing their own resources, for the most part, using money as a means of exchange and measuring one's own optimal arrangements. It's like a vast parallel processing computer for resource management.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    When it would actually be implemented, I'm sure those problems would only be magnified tenfold.
    Yep.

    That being said, the lesson of the 20th century (market economy > command economy), is currently in a bit of a crisis.

    Over the next several decades, even in the US, there will likely be increased experimentation with increased levels of government control/intervention in the economy.
    I don't think so. Most of what we're currently dealing with, in the US, are government-created market distortions. E.g., both parties wanted it to be easier for people to buy houses. The plan worked: it was easier to buy houses and lots more people bought houses. Then the market kicked in, made certain parties evaluate the financial situation, which was observed to be objectively untenable, then boom became crash.

    More control will result in more boom->crash. (At best. It could be more like the former USSR and mostly just be crash.)

    As for cars, bringing this thread marginally back on track, I think those who deem cars to be inefficient all to easily dismiss the huge economic value of owning independent means of transportation. A public transportation system (as usually conceived) can handle many specific transportation needs, but it lacks a huge amount of flexibility, which has a large impact on economic productivity and growth.

    In fact, one of the USSR's major flaws in planning was underestimating the need for transportation: never mind cars - they didn't have enough train/freight capacity to move shoes from the city they were made to the city where they made toilet paper, and move toilet paper from that city over to the city that made shoes.

    And that example shows how personal cars really aren't the problem - they're simply the most easily discussed problem in the public mind. The real reason cars won't disappear from the US is the trucks. In order for all of that economic activity to take place, in order for people to buy things, there must be things to buy, and those things are usually built/grown/whatever in one place and eventually delivered to another place where it is used or consumed. Trucks are essential in that system, and no "public transportation system" will be able to replace trucking companies, UPS, Fed Ex, etc.

    The web of economic activities is far more vast and complicated than most people realize, and any "plan" will either have enough force behind it to destroy the web in whole or in part, or lack force and simply fail.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  6. #456
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    And that example shows how personal cars really aren't the problem - they're simply the most easily discussed problem in the public mind. The real reason cars won't disappear from the US is the trucks. In order for all of that economic activity to take place, in order for people to buy things, there must be things to buy, and those things are usually built/grown/whatever in one place and eventually delivered to another place where it is used or consumed. Trucks are essential in that system, and no "public transportation system" will be able to replace trucking companies, UPS, Fed Ex, etc.
    My plan was never to get rid of trucking companies. It was simply to keep every individual from owning their own automobile. If you worked for a company like UPS or something, or you drove a mack truck, obviously it would be necessary for your job. That's what my whole plan was... reserving resources for essential vehicles like fire trucks, delivery trucks, etc. Because if oil gets too expensive or we run out, then those things WILL stop working unless we have a cheap alternative at hand.

    Can you see it a little better, if companies can still give their employees cars for certain kinds of work, police/fire/military still have them, and people in rural areas can still own them? It's just that MOST people will be expected to rely on public transportation to move around within (and eventually between) cities. Basically, anyone who really needs one could have one.

  7. #457
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    My plan was never to get rid of trucking companies. It was simply to keep every individual from owning their own automobile. If you worked for a company like UPS or something, or you drove a mack truck, obviously it would be necessary for your job. That's what my whole plan was... reserving resources for essential vehicles like fire trucks, delivery trucks, etc. Because if oil gets too expensive or we run out, then those things WILL stop working unless we have a cheap alternative at hand.

    Can you see it a little better, if companies can still give their employees cars for certain kinds of work, police/fire/military still have them, and people in rural areas can still own them? It's just that MOST people will be expected to rely on public transportation to move around within (and eventually between) cities. Basically, anyone who really needs one could have one.
    Economics still dictate that the petrol powered individual motor car is the optimum level of comfort, affordability and time value for most people; I'm sure that when that changes we'll see a flood of different modes of transport who will vie to prove that a different balance of the three factors is in play. We should remember that the automobile was hailed as the great saviour to cure the cities of the disease of feeding and maintaining polluting and diseased armies of horses for virtually all tasks.

  8. #458
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    Economics still dictate that the petrol powered individual motor car is the optimum level of comfort, affordability and time value for most people; I'm sure that when that changes we'll see a flood of different modes of transport who will vie to prove that a different balance of the three factors is in play. We should remember that the automobile was hailed as the great saviour to cure the cities of the disease of feeding and maintaining polluting and diseased armies of horses for virtually all tasks.
    The problem is that comfort, affordability, and time value... don't take into account the fact that oil is a finite resource that we might not be able to replace, or the fact that pollution will eventually make the planet uninhabitable.

    If it is found that we're going to destroy ourselves without change, the government will have to intervene in order to stop us from destroying ourselves. That isn't the case right now, perhaps, but if it does become the case... should we just stand by and let it happen for the sake of comfort and time value?

    The thing is, the market might be too slow to react, and when the oil starts drying up, certain things can't be produced anymore, and trucks can't move goods anymore... we'll be in a very bad situation. That's why I think the supply needs to be diverted towards essential things, or conserved in some manner.

  9. #459
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    The problem is that comfort, affordability, and time value... don't take into account the fact that oil is a finite resource that we might not be able to replace, or the fact that pollution will eventually make the planet uninhabitable.

    If it is found that we're going to destroy ourselves without change, the government will have to intervene in order to stop us from destroying ourselves. That isn't the case right now, perhaps, but if it does become the case... should we just stand by and let it happen for the sake of comfort and time value?
    I'm skeptical about all of the above. Resources simply become harder to find (lifting cost per barrel increases), at some point there is a non-catastrophic change in what is optimum and the economy shifts on that: so yes, this does take into account the availability of a limited resource. Also I don't believe in global warming and if it is it can be cured for less money than is currently proclaimed (see my posts above) but the solution is unpalatable to crackpot environmentalists who believe that the natural condition of the earth is green meadows with hedgehogs bouncing between neatly trimmed hedges.

    For your information (yes I keep this kind of information lying around):

    Last edited by InvisibleJim; 01-20-2011 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Post Edit: Interesting Chart

  10. #460
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    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleJim View Post
    I'm skeptical about all of the above. Resources simply become harder to find (lifting cost per barrel increases), at some point there is a non-catastrophic change in what is optimum and the economy shifts on that: so yes, this does take into account the availability of a limited resource. Also I don't believe in global warming and if it is it can be cured for less money than is currently proclaimed (see my posts above) but the solution is unpalatable to crackpot environmentalists who believe that the natural condition of the earth is green meadows with hedgehogs bouncing between neatly trimmed hedges.
    Well, even if you don't believe in global warming... are you not afraid of what will happen if we start running out of oil?

    Or do you believe that we'll be able to replace oil quickly enough that we can go on without it?

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