Monthly Archives: June 2004

Oil Unlimited

According to Bruce Bartlett, the 18th century “dead dinosaur” theory of the origin of oil may be wrong. According to the abiotic theory, used for the last 50 years to successfully find oil reserves, petroleum has an inorganic origin far below the earth’s crust. This would mean that the amount of oil reserves could be far larger that conventional wisdom suggests. If you factor in the potential of technology and economic incentives, the oil supply becomes virtually unlimited.

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Grace for Freethinkers

The North Texas Church of Freethought offers a capitalist and a leftist version of Grace. Here is the “capitalist” version:

For what we are about to eat, may we be truly grateful. Thanks to the farmers who grew the food, the factory workers who made the tractors they used, the mechanics who maintained them and the engineers who designed them in the first place. Thanks to the truck drivers who shipped the food to the supermarket, and the supermarket that made it available to us. A special thanks to our employers or customers who paid us, so we can buy the food. And, of course, let us not forget the free market systems that makes all those people work together to produce this meal. In the name of the cent and the almighty buck, Amen.

Now check out the website for the leftist version.

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Top six ways to lower gas prices

Here is a list of the top six things the government can, should, and won’t do to greatly reduce gas prices and six things that are likely to either have no effect or raise them, but are frequently done anyway. (The following post comes from a recent reply to an online forum.)

Top six ways to reduce gas prices:
1. Eliminate direct and indirect sales taxes on gas. (Road money has to come from somewhere of course, but taxes on gas do not provide an efficient means of paying for them.)
2. Eliminate state and federal regulations regarding contaminants and fuel mixtures.
3. Break up the OPEC monopoly by forcefully privatizing oil production in the Middle East.
4. Eliminate anti-trust regulations, especially against oil and processing companies.
5. Sell federal lands, especially in Alaska.
6. Eliminate emissions regulations on cars.

Top six things the government is likely to do that will raise or not affect gas prices:
1. Fuel-efficient cars, and especially federal subsidies for them. The impact on worldwide oil use is too small to matter, but car manufacturers must pass on extra production costs to consumers.
2. The war in Iraq. Obviously, this has raised, not reduced oil prices, as expected.
3. Government price controls on gas. Socialists who think that market prices are set at the whim oil companies while government prices are set according to some form of bureaucratic omniscience are deluding themselves.
4. Boycotts on gas buying = total economic ignorance not worth a response.
5. Public transportation and car-pooling. This may reduce the cost of transportation for individuals, but it will have little impact on global oil prices. Meanwhile, public transportation is subsidized by higher gas taxes.
6. Government-mandated “clean” energy and electric cars. Where do you think the energy for electric batteries comes from? Magic? Like recycling, if it’s not chosen by the market, it’s more likely to waste, not save energy costs.

More ideas.


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Space travel vs politics

What’s the biggest challenge to commercial space travel? No, it’s not the technical challenge of launching men 100 miles high on top of a huge explosive, but H.R. 3752, a piece of pending legislation with ominous consequences. Already, contenders for the space race are lobbying for regulation that is most favorable to their preferred method of rocketry. Before a single private rocket reaches space, pull-peddlers in Washington are already competing for government permissions and favors. Since space travel is currently popular with voters, it is just as likely to receive federal dollars as federal regulations, but either result is likely to keep rockets grounded.

Anyone who has faith in government-run space travel should take note of the space shuttle program. It’s problems go far beyond the “NASA culture,” (compare it to the single-minded vision of Burt Rutan) safety compromises with environmentalists, or their ancient and dilapidated condition. The very notion of a government run “shuttle” should set of warning bells for anyone who has experienced Amtrak or government-run airlines. The shuttle’s creation and stagnation was the result of a compromise between clashing constituencies, a need to justify funding, and (ironically) an inability to take risks and seek bold new direction.

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"post traumatic slave syndrome"

It takes a sociology professor to sink to this level of lunacy:

A Portland lawyer says suffering by African Americans at the hands of slave owners is to blame in the death of a 2-year-old Beaverton boy.
Randall Vogt is offering the untested theory, called post traumatic slave syndrome, in his defense of Isaac Cortez Bynum, who is charged with murder by abuse in the June 30 death of his son, Ryshawn Lamar Bynum. Vogt says he will argue — “in a general way” — that masters beat slaves, so Bynum was justified in beating his son.

The slave theory is the work of Joy DeGruy-Leary, an assistant professor in the Portland State University Graduate School of Social Work.

Because African Americans as a class never got a chance to heal and today still face racism, oppression and societal inequality, they suffer from multigenerational trauma, says DeGruy-Leary, who is African American. Self-destructive, violent or aggressive behavior often results, she says.


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I bought an apple pie today. The top of the container has the words “NOT FOR WEIGHT CONTROL.” Is there an apple pie that you do eat for weight control, or is this warning for idiots who are liable to sue because they got fat from eating too many pies? Don’t they watch South Park?

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