JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2008/05/your-government-at-work.html (29 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1209666331-591550  geekWithA.45 at Thu, 01 May 2008 18:25:31 +0000

People keep saying we don't have an energy policy.

That's hogwash.

I think it was the secretary of energy who stated our policy very succinctly on CNN around 2000, 2001.

{Approximate quote from memory}:
"The energy policy of the United States is to use foreign, non renewable sources of energy."

And this is quite absolutely right, not for what he said, but for what he didn't say.

What he didn't say was that our *intention* is to use up the other guy's energy resources *first*, while holding ours in reserve.

What he didn't say was that up until China recently got a taste of prosperity, the USA was, and still is, a near perfect machine for the consumption of nonrenewable energy.

What he didn't say was that the entire history of the 20th and 21st century is entirely about one single excruciating truth:

Whether America remains free and prosperous will be determined by whoever controls The Lightning; which is some critical portion of war suitable energy resources.

And it damned well better be us.


jsid-1209669191-591551  Kevin Baker at Thu, 01 May 2008 19:13:11 +0000

Can we start building nuclear power plants in volume? Soon?

jsid-1209675436-591555  geekWithA.45 at Thu, 01 May 2008 20:57:16 +0000

That'd be good, yes.

jsid-1209679397-591558  DirtCrashr at Thu, 01 May 2008 22:03:17 +0000

How come we supposedly don't have an Energy Policy, but the Democrat Machine does, (tax eveybody to generate Magic Gubb'mint Power-juice), and also a Foreign Policy (Junket uz to talk dem Bad Guyz until dey likez Uz) and an Education Policy (tax everypeoplz to generate Magic Gubb'mint Smart-dust) and a Healthcare Policy (tax Richhpeoplz to generate Magic Gubb'mint NoSick-dust), and an Immigratiophn Policy (tax evebuddy to generate Magic Gubb'mint Voting-dust), and a Crime Policy (tax people to generate Magic Prison-dust)...
Sheesh, it's easy man.

jsid-1209680432-591559  Guav at Thu, 01 May 2008 22:20:32 +0000

When oil is drilled, it is sold on international markets, so for gas prices to come down, the companies doing the drilling in ANWR would have to sell their oil directly to the consumer and bypass international markets, and that simply is not going to happen—it’s going in with the rest of the world’s oil to be priced the same as the rest of it.

jsid-1209682588-591560  DJ at Thu, 01 May 2008 22:56:28 +0000

The amount of recoverable oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not known, it is only estimated. The estimate for the Alaskan north coastal plain runs as high as 9.2 billion barrels. At the current US consumption of 20 million barrels per day, that would supply our usage for 460 days, or 1.26 years.

Would it help? Of course it would. Is it the answer to high oil prices? No, of course not.

World oil consumption runs about 87 million barrels per day, and world oil production runs about 84 million barrels per day. High demand X not high enough supply = high prices. As China and India continue to discover the advantages of oil-powered mobility, the problem will continue to get worse. It will likely never get better because the demand will likely never decrease.

jsid-1209686482-591562  Kevin Baker at Fri, 02 May 2008 00:01:22 +0000

Thus the market pressure to shift to other sources of energy, and nuclear is a source, so long as we can figure out ways to store it.

People keep talking about hydrogen, but hydrogen isn't a source - it's all tied up in water or other molecules. But excess generating capacity (the kind we have at night) can be used to crack water and make molecular hydrogen. Or charge batteries, or nanotechnology ultracapacitors, or spin up massive flywheels, or distill alcohol from waste cellulose, and then clean the water used in the process.

We need cheap energy, and nuclear is the ONLY viable alternative available to us today.

Hell, I want my own private micro-nuke plant.

jsid-1209687478-591565  Guav at Fri, 02 May 2008 00:17:58 +0000

Good balanced article in Mother Jones about nuclear:


jsid-1209692429-591569  Kevin Baker at Fri, 02 May 2008 01:40:29 +0000

Yes it was. Thanks for pointing that out.

jsid-1209692910-591573  fits at Fri, 02 May 2008 01:48:30 +0000

Nuclear energy still isn't going to power our cars, and the nanosecond after we flood the country with nuke plants consumers would once again be racing to see who could get the biggest, fastest, gas guzzling road behemoth. Its still cheaper to buy oil rather than look for it and then get it, for now at least, and as long as we continue to suck dead dino droppings at an ever record pace we need an alternate for the long run, and so far there isn't a viable one.

Not much more than 10 years ago liberals were whining how cheap gas was and how Europe paid so much more for it and how WE needed to pay more in order to conserve, yadda yadda.

Well they got their wish, and by the looks of all of those SUV's and gigunda pickups sitting in the dealers lots gathering dust, they were at least partially correct.

jsid-1209693604-591574  Mastiff at Fri, 02 May 2008 02:00:04 +0000

Nuclear energy still isn't going to power our cars

It will if the energy gets stored in batteries.

Take this to the bank: in five years or less, someone is going to make a battery-powered sedan that can run >300 miles per charge, for less than $50,000.

jsid-1209693721-591575  Guav at Fri, 02 May 2008 02:02:01 +0000

Yeah, there's an article on batteries in that same Mother Jones issue as well.

jsid-1209696344-591577  DJ at Fri, 02 May 2008 02:45:44 +0000

"Take this to the bank: in five years or less, someone is going to make a battery-powered sedan that can run >300 miles per charge, for less than $50,000."


My first car was brand new when I bought it for $2,245, got 31 miles per gallon, and I could fill its tank at 29 cents per gallon for premium, which I complained about because I remember gas at 11 cents per gallon.

Damn, but it sucks getting older.

jsid-1209696784-591578  Kevin Baker at Fri, 02 May 2008 02:53:04 +0000

You bought a '69 Beetle?

jsid-1209697343-591579  Mastiff at Fri, 02 May 2008 03:02:23 +0000

Okay, I was probably too conservative in my SWAG earlier:

Automotive X-Prize geekery!

Let's say within two years. This makes me happy...

jsid-1209710907-591587  Unix-Jedi at Fri, 02 May 2008 06:48:27 +0000

It will if the energy gets stored in batteries.

Maybe. Battery tech still isn't really, that good. Hell, we've not advanced a lot in the last 100 years (and most of that has been in the last 20).

Without a fundamental change in the type of batteries we've got, it's not really that practical. (Yes, I try and catch up with all the latest gee whiz, lookit we invented/did sort of announcements, and hey guys, that's great, but, errr, production? Product? When? How much? Oh. Well, get back to me soonish, K?)

Take this to the bank: in five years or less, someone is going to make a battery-powered sedan that can run >300 miles per charge, for less than $50,000.

Don't they have those already?

About 10 years ago I was hanging out with several guys who were seriously looking into converting some pickups to electric, and it was quite interesting looking at the industry around that. Quite interesting and innovative. But batteries are heavy damn things, and very nasty in a crash. Pesky damn physics.

All that being said, if we had cheap electricity it could push for that - but we'd probably need to standardize on some battery tech/form factors.

jsid-1209735051-591592  DJ at Fri, 02 May 2008 13:30:51 +0000

"You bought a '69 Beetle?"

No, a '71 Datsun 510.

jsid-1209738217-591598  GrumpyOldFart at Fri, 02 May 2008 14:23:37 +0000

We need to find a way to fuel ourselves without using oil, that's for certain. Not because of pollution, though that'd be nice. Not because of non-renewability, though that'd be nice. The reason we shouldn't burn oil is because we need it for the plastics industry.

As for other energy sources... oh hell yeah, I think we need to keep looking for alternate power. Running on chemical energy that gets used once and thrown away is just stupid. The amount on energy going to waste inside the orbit of the moon is just insane. It's raining soup. We BADLY need to invent better buckets.

jsid-1209745529-591606  Unix-Jedi at Fri, 02 May 2008 16:25:29 +0000

GOF: This isn't directed at you, per se, but you brought up something that's a pet peeve of mine that almost always comes up when you get the "liberals" in the discussion.

We need to find a way to fuel ourselves without using oil, that's for certain.

"liberals", whining: "Why can't we just do a Manhattan Project for NEEWWWW ENEEERRGEEEE instead of building bombs?"

1) We did one once, we got practical nuclear power out of it. You know, the sort you protest allatime.

2) The "Manhattan Project" wasn't that they tossed (at the time) $2 B USD into the air and some guys took some of it, and said "hey, let's refine some uranium and see what happens".

The science and theory was rough, and needed fine-tuning with practical experience, but by the late 1930s, physicists knew that they could build fission weapons. What they'd do, exactly, they weren't totally sure of, and how was another problem, but it was easily demonstrated via lab experiments that at a certain point N, that substance M was gonna blow, and blow in a big way.

In fact, the B-29 project ended up costing more than the atomic bomb project did. Had it not been for the atomic bomb, the project would likely have been cancelled because of the cost. Again, "known" issues. Cooling. Airflow over laminar structures. And it still took Boeing a good hard 2 years to really get it - mostly - fixed.

Using the concept of the Manhattan Project like that, as I've seen many times, is more proof that the "liberals" don't understand how things work on a starship, to use a phrase from an immortal movie. They just see that money was applied, and fixed the problem. (And now they want to complain about the fix, and what it's implications are.)

I think we're on the edge of several breakthroughs in applied physics with the nanotech coming online. I'd suspect one major area will be electrical storage. But merely tossing money in the air means that lots of companies waste lots of time worrying about how to get the money. Nothing about practical concerns, or viability, just filling out the government paperwork to get the government money.

(That's another rant - the government's so big, and with so many grants, loans, payments to various places, that it's becoming almost a requirement to compete that you know how best to work all layers of government. This has severe implications for obvious reasons. But those later.)

jsid-1209745715-591607  Matt at Fri, 02 May 2008 16:28:35 +0000

Yes, we need more supply, and we need to reduce the energy regulations. But we also need to reduce the taxes, and even more important, go to a gold standard and stop the inflation of the dollar.

jsid-1209818044-591631  Guest (anonymous) at Sat, 03 May 2008 12:34:04 +0000

I agree absolutely, Matt. U-J, I think you're right in everything you said. The point I was making is that we need to get away from the "use it once and throw it away" mentality, with energy as with everything else.
I'm not particularly concerned about "saving the planet", as I think the planet is much tougher than most give it credit for. We may trash the environment so badly that *we* can't live here, but the planet will just start a new paradigm and go on without us.
I just think it's flatly idiotic that, instead of finding ways to reuse the same materials as many times as possible, we refine something from a natural source, use it once, throw it away, and then spend years and billions cleaning up the mess we made. While it would probably be more expensive in the *short term*, I'd think it would be cheaper and more effective in the long run to find ways to refine something (oil, iron, etc.) ONCE, and then reuse it as many times in as many ways as possible. One of the major reasons I think the plastics industry is a better place to use oil is because nearly all plastics can be shredded, remelted, remolded. My great grandkids could be using 90% of the same oil I used as parts for my car, bags for my groceries, toys for my kids, etc. I don't give a damn whether we drill in ANWR, I'm thinking that it's an intelligent way to keep from cramming landfills with plastic trash.

jsid-1209854319-591640  juris_imprudent at Sat, 03 May 2008 22:38:39 +0000

Matt- what makes you think that gold is inherently more valuable than any other commodity?

The first great oil crisis in human [economic] history was NOT in 1973. It was when whale oil became harder to come by late in the 19th century, and this heretofor useless stuff called petroleum was refined as an alternative.

Only about half of petroleum goes into fuel consumption. The other half is petro-chems, most notably plastics [that advice in "The Graduate" was spot on]. Funny how no one sweats the death of plastics, but that could be just as bad as jacked up fuel prices.

jsid-1209911139-591665  DJ at Sun, 04 May 2008 14:25:39 +0000

Every time I think of this subject, I cannot help but marvel at my good fortune to be born and live out my life during what, I believe, are the best years of the industrial age. The world population has more than doubled during my lifetime. The world economy continues to grow along with it, and it is fueled, lubricated, and coddled by oil. That will not last forever.

World oil reserves are, more or less, 1.3 trillion barrels. At the current rate of consumption of 87 million barrels per day, the oil will run out in (to one significant figure) 40 years.

As consumption ramped up, it's been wonderfull. As supply ramps down, it's gonna be pure hell.

It's already begun, but I won't be around to see it end.

jsid-1210020593-591709  -B at Mon, 05 May 2008 20:49:53 +0000

We need to find a way to fuel ourselves without using oil, that's for certain. Not because of pollution, though that'd be nice.

This reminded me of something not everyone knows; oil, as it's pumped out of the crust, isn't at all what you'd call toxic. It's actually pretty good fertilizer.

It's really the anti-corrosive agents, detergents and additives that are imbibed in the motor oils and gasoline distillates that make them hazardous.

Wonder how many Greens know this kind of stuff. My guess is not many.

jsid-1210087683-591741  DJ at Tue, 06 May 2008 15:28:03 +0000

"... oil, as it's pumped out of the crust, isn't at all what you'd call toxic."

A quick search found
"Class A: Light, Volatile Oils. These oils are highly fluid, often clear, spread rapidly on solid or water surfaces, have a strong odor, a high evaporation rate, and are usually flammable. They penetrate porous surfaces such as dirt and sand, and may be persistent in such a matrix. They do not tend to adhere to surfaces; flushing with water generally removes them. Class A oils may be highly toxic to humans, fish, and other biota. Most refined products and many of the highest quality light crudes can be included in this class."

jsid-1210176757-591795  -B at Wed, 07 May 2008 16:12:37 +0000


Thanks for making my point for me.

jsid-1210193765-591810  DJ at Wed, 07 May 2008 20:56:05 +0000

"Thanks for making my point for me."

Read it again.

Your statement was (emphasis added):

"... oil, as it's pumped out of the crust, isn't at all what you'd call toxic."

The report I cited states, as I quoted (with altered emphasis):

"Class A oils may be highly toxic to humans, fish, and other biota. Most refined products and many of the highest quality light crudes can be included in this class."

That doesn't make your point, it refutes it, and it's the tip of the iceberg. Google's a big place.

jsid-1210285399-591842  -B at Thu, 08 May 2008 22:23:19 +0000


I guess you are taking that tip a bit too literally.

Empirical evidence tends to show something larger.

Hint: Look, very closely, at Valdez, AK.

jsid-1210285931-591843  DJ at Thu, 08 May 2008 22:32:11 +0000

No, how about you 'splain yourself in plain English? If you have a case, then make it.

 Note: All avatars and any images or other media embedded in comments were hosted on the JS-Kit website and have been lost; references to haloscan comments have been partially automatically remapped, but accuracy is not guaranteed and corrections are solicited.
 If you notice any problems with this page or wish to have your home page link updated, please contact John Hardin <jhardin@impsec.org>