[[ Check out my Wordpress blog Context/Earth for environmental and energy topics tied together in a semantic web framework ]]

Saturday, June 10, 2006


The blogging convention YearlyKos featured a discussion on the global energy situation; Jerome provides the PowerPoint slides here.

Scientist PZ Myers (on the science panel at YKos) needs to get a gig writing for radio bits. He came up with a great imagined conversation between a SCIentist and LIBertarian here:
LIB: Isn't this wonderful? I have a desire to drive, and sufficient surplus income to purchase a vehicle, and the market and technology provide me with one. Praise Jesus! Praise Adam Smith!

SCI: Uh, yeah, OK...but you know, the way you're driving is neither safe nor economical. Could you maybe slow down a little?

LIB: I decide what is economical; I can afford the gas. As for safety, I have insurance, and the little whatchamacallit meter in front of me goes all the way up to 140. I haven't exceeded the limit yet.

SCI: What you can do and what is safe and reasonable to do are two different things. If you want to experience natural selection first hand, that would be OK with me, except for the fact that we're both in the same car.
By the way, that's a lake a couple of miles ahead, and you're headed straight for it.

LIB: Lake? We haven't encountered any lakes in our travels so far. We don't have to worry about lakes. History is our guide, and it clearly says, "no lakes".

SCI: Well, yes, there's a lake right there in front of us. You can see it as well as I can, I hope. It's even marked right here on our map. I suggest you turn left just a little bit and steer clear of it.

LIB: Oh, you pessimistic doomsayers. You're always gloomily predicting our demise, and you're always wrong. We hit a mud puddle a few miles back, and see? No problems.

SCI: I'm only predicting doom if you keep driving as foolishly as you have so far. I suggest that we start on this alternate route now, so that we don't have to swerve too sharply at the last minute.

LIB: There is no lake. I like driving fast and straight. The last thing I want to do is turn left.

SCI: What do you mean, there is no lake? It's right there! And we are getting closer by the minute! Why are you accelerating?

LIB: That there is a lake is only your opinion. We need to study this, and get more input.
(LIB reaches down beneath the seat. His hand reemerges with a sock over it.)

SOCK: No lake!

LIB: Hmmm. We seem to have two opinions here. Since Mr Socky has taken economic considerations into account and you have not, I can judge which is the better and more informed. Sound science says there is no lake. Or if there is, we can accept the compromise solution that it will disappear before we reach it.

SCI: We are headed for that lake at 80 miles per hour, in a car driven by a lunatic. Slow down and turn left!

LIB: I am confident that our innovative and technologically sophisticated economy will come up with a solution before we impact any hypothetical lake. Right, Mr Socky?

SOCK: 's alright!

SCI: I have been telling you what the solution is for the last 3 miles. Slow down. Turn. Now. How is science going to save you if you insist on ignoring it?

LIB: Aha! Look! There's a pier extending out into the lake! I told you that technology would be our salvation. You scientists always underestimate the power of the free market.

SCI: Jebus. That's a rickety 40-foot wooden dock. You can't drive at 90 miles per hour onto a short pier! BRAKE! TURN!

LIB: You are getting emotional, and can be ignored. Market forces and the science and engineering sector will respond to our needs by assembling a floating bridge before we hit the end. Or perhaps they will redesign our car to fly. Or dispatch a ferry or submarine to our location. We cannot predict the specific solution, but we can trust that one will emerge.
I've always wanted a flying car.

SCI: Gobdamn, but you are such a moron.

(car tires begin rapid thumpety-thump as they go over planks)

LIB: I love you, Mr Socky.

SOCK: Ditto!
Replace {lake} with {global warming|peak oil|etc} and this works for just about any flaming cornucopian idea.


Post a Comment

<< Home

"Like strange bulldogs sniffing each other's butts, you could sense wariness from both sides"