The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

posted in: public affairs, quirky | 0

The Good

In case you haven’t heard, this is National Novel Writing Month. A group called NaNoWriMo.org exists to spur people on to write their long-delayed novels in just one month—this month—during National Novel Writing Month (which is really an international month, but never mind the nitpicks). The idea is to encourage people to run amok with their imaginations and write write write—full speed ahead, and damn the quality. I think it’s a great idea. If you’re a frustrated writer, check out their site.

Oh—today is NaBaUpYoNoDa—National Back Up Your Novel Day. “Know that your computer has been waiting a long time to get revenge for that half can of Diet Coke you dumped all over it last year.”

The Bad

The U.S. Senate has voted to allow drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, despite widespread public opposition. What’s this mean? It means that if the energy package isn’t stopped or changed in the House, the Congress will have voted to permit the despoiling of a great untouched wilderness area, with attendant harm to wildlife, all for the sake of a minor addition to our oil supply. It’s a fraud, though. The oil will be only a drop in the bucket compared to what we use, and despite the crowing in some parts about it being a movement toward energy independence, it’s nothing of the kind. It’s a Halloween handout to the oil companies. If we really want to move toward energy independence, we’ll start emphasizing conservation and efficiency, which will save us far more oil than this plan will give us.

Unfortunately, the current administration doesn’t give a damn about conservation, and doesn’t seem to give a damn about anything except making the wealthy oil companies even wealthier. If you agree with me, now’s the time to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to stop the drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

See the National Resources Defense Council web site for more information. Or the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Ugly

Okay, I don’t have an ugly. But I do have a weird, an unexpected, a pleasant shock. Last night I did a routine check of the web counter on my SF course, writesf.com. I’ve come to expect a daily increase of one or two hundred on the welcome page, less on the following pages. Well, last night I found the count up by over 5000 hits. Why? Well, I submitted a note about it to a site called BoingBoing.net, and they ran a short item about it. Just a quick mention, in a long list of notes. I guess a lot of people read BoingBoing.net, because when I checked the logs, I found that was exactly where a huge percentage of the hits had come from. Whoa. Today, it was down to a mere 2000 or so. I presume it will taper off back toward normality in a little while.

Freaky, though. I hope some of those visitors find it useful.

0 Responses

  1. Chris Lautischer
    | Reply

    me.. write a novel… hmmm probably not.. what about an e-book? 😀

  2. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    What’s the dif?

  3. Tim
    | Reply

    Okay so you probably won’t appreciate this Jeff but I just find it funny that the US Senate has voted to drill into Alaska because my comic strip http://www.theofficecomic.com has been doing a series on this very subject for over a month now. It starts with this comic: http://www.theofficecomic.com/archives/100105.html and runs through the current comic.

  4. Kitty
    | Reply

    Okay, Jeff, I just have to put in my 3 cents. 1. It is possible to build elevated pipelines that caribou can walk under, or ramps for them to go over the pipelines. 2. Caribou seem to like to hang out around pipelines, because the gravel pads keep down insects, and caribou hate insects. For an alternate view, you can read how the oil industry is working to create, in their words, “happy caribou.” http://www.netl.doe.gov/scngo/Arctic%20Energy%20Center/Publications/AK%20Conference%20Proceedings%202000/PDF/joyce.pdf

  5. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Thanks for that link to your comic, Tim. I read part of the sequence before I was called away to do something, and I do want to finish it.

    Kitty, I just skimmed the paper you mentioned, and it is interesting. But it focuses on just the single issue of caribou, and not the whole ecological impact–the roads, the traffic, the air and water and soil pollution from the drilling and extraction. What really burns me about the Bush approach to this is that they’ve resisted for years doing anything to mandate improved energy efficiency in vehicles, or to encourage conservation in *any* significant way. And yet that’s what we need to do to improve our oil import situation. (But then, maybe Bush doesn’t *want* to reduce our reliance on mideast oil. Ah, don’t get me started on that.)

    It also burns me that they used the temporary increase in fuel prices after Katrina as an excuse to ram this through. The Congress, even this heavily Republican Congress, had repeatedly voted to protect the Arctic Refuge–until now. It’s pure manipulation.

  6. Tim
    | Reply

    Thanks for checking out the comic. I whole heartedly agree that we need to not be dependent on foreign oil and much less dependent on oil in general. And we can come out with more efficient cars that use less gas but the reality of it is that the majority of americans don’t have the money to run out and buy a brand new car because it’s more fuel efficient and so the more efficient fuel using car approach is really a decades long view of things. And as far as encouraging conservation…I have to drive 30 minutes each way to work every day and believe if I could find a job close to home, I’d do so in a heartbeat.

    So really what part of the issue is with dependency on foreign oil, isn’t just encouraging conservation and it isnt just coming out with better vehicles. Somehow we need to up our own production. I’m not saying whether the arctic refuge is the best way to do that or not but somewhere in our own country we need to be producing more oil.

    And I wouldn’t really call the fuel price increases temporary. Yes the prices went over $3.00 a gallon and now they are back down to around $2.20 (around here anyway), but that is still a huge increase over where it was at earlier this year. The oil companies always do this. They use some big catastrophe to price gouge the heck out of us and then they back the price down a little bit and everyone is like “wow this is so great i’m only paying $2.20 a gallon now” when just 6 months earlier it was like $1.50. The price NEVER goes back down anywhere near where it was.

  7. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Tim:

    >> we can come out with more efficient cars that use less gas but the reality of it is that the majority of americans don’t have the money to run out and buy a brand new car because it’s more fuel efficient and so the more efficient fuel using car approach is really a decades long view of things. < < While it’s true that most people can’t run right out and buy new cars, the sooner you start making them, the sooner they get into the mix. And I’d guess that over 5 years, a significant number of vehicles are turned over–the oldest being junked, and newer ones working their way down the food chain. In the last five years, there has been obstruction rather than encouragement in this direction. Meanwhile, we have a national culture that glorifies Humvees and big SUVs. It’s not *just* the administration, obviously. But there’s been zero leadership. No, make that anti-leadership. Drilling in the ANWR won’t produce oil for ten years, and even then the amount produced will be miniscule compared to what improved efficiency can give us. And it’s not just cars–it’s use of energy in general. Lights, heating, etc. There are still a lot of towns around here that use incandescent lights in their stoplights, when LED replacements are readily available, and save money to boot. That’s just one small example. Another is railroads. Instead of trying to kill Amtrak, we should be upgrading it and expanding service. In Europe, they take good train service for granted. Here, it’s a miracle. Re gas prices — where we are, they’re about at pre-Katrina levels, I think. But that’s still a lot higher than what you’re paying, so I’m guessing taxes are a factor. But I agree with you about the tendency of the oilcoes to gouge and keep the prices up. As their current windfall profits demonstrate.

Post your comment before you lose your train of thought. (Mine already left the station.)