Elkhorn Creek Lodge

Green Stupidity

Posted in uncategorized by Eugene Podrazik on January 22, 2012

I keep trying to write this post, but the stupidity comes so fast as to make my comments obselete

Taleb Nassim, in the Black Swan, remarks about F. A. Hayek’s assertion that societies, not individuals think outside the box.  The simple truth of this statement is simply the statistical probability that the more people are in on a problem the greater the chance that someone will hit on a solution or a shortcoming faster.  Or, 300 million people, it the billions upon billions of transactions in a given day are going to uncover a problem, shortcoming or, conversely, an advantage far quicker that a bureaucrat.

Our ‘green’ energy policies are example upon example, writ large, of the utter failure of one of the foundations of progressivism.  That is, the concept that decisions large and small are beyond the individual—and hence the free market—and can only be handled by the dispassionate wisdom of government ‘experts.’   This folly is only magnified by our current President; aided and abetted by fellow Nobelista, Dr. Chu, of the Energy Department.  Somehow, they presume to have all the answers to our carbon-free, rainbow-pony future that is known only to them.  The same-said answer that have eluded, over the last two centuries, the hundreds of millions of people who have participated in exchanges of goods and services in the area of transportation, heating, air conditioning, lighting and the like.

Energy policy is about providing ready, on-demand sources of energy that can be readily tapped for immediate use, easily transported and easily stored.  To date, that happens to be hydrocarbons.

Proof?  Look in the mirror.  Or, look around at the world. Every animal uses a hydrocarbon called glucose to burn for energy.  The reasons is that weight for weight, volume for volume, hydrocarbons is the most efficient way to store and transport energy.  One of the biggest problems in artificial heart development is an energy supply.  The natural heart muscle, burning glucose, does a far better job than the alternative; batteries that we use to power artificial ventricular assist devices.

Look at the basics of physics:  Force equals Mass times acceleration.  And, Work equals Force times Distance.  Ultimately, we burn energy to perform work.  Work, most easily visualized transporting an object some distance is a function of that distance and the mass being moved.  Mass is the amount of stuff you have; protons, neutrons and so forth.  And, remember, energy is mass that needs to be carried.  Therefore, it takes energy to move energy.

 So, now lets just skim why we use energy as we do and not as our solons in Obama’s administration think we should.  For instance, because we in a relatively sparsely populated country, stepping out our door will mean the average American will travel farther than his European or Asian counterpart.  Many of the oh-so trendy European solutions for bullet trains and disposable-diaper micro-compact with pie pan wheels are designed for population densities at many hundreds or over a thousand people per square mile.  With the exception of, say, Manhattan, our country is a country with a population density of under one hundred people per square mile.  Thousands of pounds of the space shuttle Columbia fell on Texas and Louisiana, yet no one got hit.

So, if you are going to travel farther, you’re going to want to do more on each trip.  You’ll want to combine errands, make larger purchases, say, once a week rather than daily.  You will want a larger vehicle.  Until, CAFE standards killed it, the station wagon.  The SUV was the loophole that allowed auto manufacturers to continue to offer the station wagon that Americans still needed.   So, in some respect, the SUV is one of the most noticeable distortions of the market because of our green stupidity policies.

Now let’s move on into the realm of politically correct engineering.  People are foisting all sorts of ‘new’ technology that has been around for the better part of a century.  In some cases, a millennia.

First, is the electric car.  It’s been tried already.  And, its utility has long been sorted out.  If you were to go the the ‘Street of Yesteryear’ at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, you will see a circa 1910 battery powered car.  I believe it got about forty miles on a charge–just like the Volt.  And, for all of the fawning over the Volt’s innovation, it on and has been on our nation’s railroads for the last 50 years.  Because every modern locomotive uses a diesel engine to power a generator that drives motors that turn the wheels.  A Prius on steel wheels.  Minus the batteries because they’re too heavy. Oops.

But, to understand the real idiocy of electrical cars you need to place them in the context of the Datsun 210.  The 210 was a compact car made by Datsun in the mid ’70’s.  It had a carbureted 1.4 liter four-banger engine and go 50 mpg.  And, remember, if you’re not burning gas, you’re burning coal because the electricity has to come from somewhere.  So, no, you aren’t getting the EPA rated 200 mpg from your Chevy Volt.  All that politically inflated mpg rating does is allow Government Motors to sell more Suburbans and not exceed the CAFE standards.

As for the Nissan Leaf?  Real original.  It’s called the golf cart.  It works out on the links because the cart doesn’t wander far from home and you have all night to recharge.

Windmills?  They’ve been around since the Middle Ages.  If it was such a great idea, they’d still be in use today.  Without subsidies.  The power is at the whim of wind conditions; not necessarily when you need the power.  Just as a personal example, I looked into a personal system for my home