An Environmentalist Joins the Reality-Based Community

A review of Mark Lynas' The God Species

Eco-activist and journalist Mark Lynas owes Bjorn Lomborg an apology. Back in 2001, Lynas famously smashed a cream pie in Lomborg’s face at a public meeting in Oxford to protest his then-new book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Now, in his own new book, The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, Lynas has come a long way toward embracing many of Lomborg’s arguments.

Lomborg has long advocated the deployment of nuclear power as a low carbon energy technology, for example. Now so does Lynas. “The anti-nuclear position of many Greens does not stand up to rational, never mind scientific examination,” asserts Lynas. (Frankly, I favor neither solar socialism nor nuclear socialism, but at least Lynas is no longer ruling out a technology based on sheer ideology.)

Lomborg has often pointed to the substantial environmental benefits of genetically-modified crops. Now so does Lynas. “Genetic engineering per se is implacably opposed by almost all Green groups worldwide for ideological rather than scientific reasons,” agrees Lynas. Lynas even notes that the Greens’ “favored prescription for agriculture—a worldwide switch to organic farming—cannot possibly feed the world.”

Lynas now even favorably cites a scheme devised by Canadian researchers Isabel Galiana and Chris Green in which a $5 per ton carbon tax would be used to finance low carbon energy research and development. Interestingly, the Galiana and Green plan [PDF] was presented as a proposal at Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center in 2009.

Lynas also agrees with Lomborg on sperm counts. In The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg reviewed the evidence that synthetic chemicals were supposedly harming sperm counts and concluded, “We now know for certain that the scary vision of the general, overriding reduction in sperm quality was mistaken.” Now Lynas writes, “One particularly stubborn myth—almost universally believed in my experience—is that sperm counts are falling around the world, and that this threatens a worldwide crisis in male fertility.” He notes that while some studies do show a decline, “many more have shown no decline at all.”

The book’s title harks back to futurist Stewart Brand’s famous statement, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Humanity is now in charge of the earth, dramatically affecting all sorts of ecological systems. “Playing God (in the sense of being intelligent designers) at a planetary level is essential if creation is not to be irreparably damaged,” asserts Lynas.

Lynas’ analysis in The God Species is essentially a popularization of the cogitations of a self-selected group of 29 ecologists who met in 2009 with the goal of defining nine “planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely.” According to the group, humanity so far has transgressed only three of the boundaries, for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. The group could not quantify two of them, chemical pollution and aerosols. So far humanity still operates safely within four global boundaries e.g., withdrawal of freshwater, ocean acidification, land use, and stratospheric ozone.

Let’s set aside the fact that Lynas fully accepts the most catastrophic interpretations of climate change, extinction rates, and nitrogen loading. What’s truly refreshing is that, for the most part, Lynas now strongly rejects the Green ideology that demands the dismantling of the human economy as the “solution” to these alleged crises. “The reality is that increasing prosperity—measured in material consumption—is non-negotiable both politically and socially, especially in developing countries,” asserts Lynas. He correctly calls the Green anti-growth stance a “dead-end ideology” aiming to “urge an unappealing narrative of communitarian austerity on an unwilling public.” Lynas concludes, “Sacrifice and austerity are out; competition and innovation are in.”

Both Lynas and the self-appointed ecologists miss the crucial point that all nine of the “boundaries” are occurring in open access commons. Nobody owns the resources and so nobody has much of an interest in protecting them from abuse and overexploitation. Lynas shows glimmers of understanding this when he urges that “the provision of water must be deregulated and privatized; taken out of the inefficient and corrupt hands of the state, and handed over to the private sector." 

In dealing with threats to biodiversity, Lynas suggests a complicated scheme of biodiversity credits and banking as a way to protect endangered species. But why not turn to privatization for help in this case too? Lynas notes that granting land rights to indigenous people in the Amazon has given them the ability to protect their forests and the biodiversity they harbor. He should pursue this insight and urge that governments recognize formal legal property rights for all indigenous peoples. Similarly, Lynas decries overfishing, but fails to apply the insight that privatization has also been proven to protect fisheries.

To his considerable credit, Lynas also rejects newly fashionable proposals for population control, arguing that economic growth and urbanization result in voluntary steep reductions in fertility as rising prosperity enables women and men to engage more fulfilling activities. In addition, he recognizes that prosperity is not an environmental problem; it is, in fact, critical to the solution of environmental problems. Prosperity correlates with declines in air and water pollution, increased wetlands protection, and forest regrowth.

With regard to the problem climate change, Lynas correctly dismisses the calls of Green ideologues for a “worldwide change in values, a program of mass education to reduce people’s desires to consume, a more equitable distribution of global wealth, smashing the power of transnational corporations, or even the abolition of capitalism itself.” Lynas instead argues, “We can completely deal with climate change within the prevailing economic system. In fact, any other approach is doomed to failure.” As noted above Lynas favors various “technofixes” such as the dramatic expansion of nuclear power, including innovative new technologies like fast breeder and thorium reactors. He still has an itch to impose top-down solutions like mandatory energy efficiency standards, but he’s moving in the right direction. 

Lynas makes his most fulsome mea culpa with regard to his former opposition to genetically engineered (GE) crops. About his anti-biotech activism, Lynas admits, “I realized that throughout the entire time I had been anti-GE activist, donning biohazard suits and mounting night-time raids against test sites, I had never read a single scientific paper on the subject.” After finally reading some science on the topic, he has now concluded, “Although none of the major environmental groups will admit it, the first generation of GE crops has almost certainly been beneficial both to the environment and to farmers.”

Future biotech crops could help solve the problem of excess nitrogen fertilizer running off of farmers’ fields to produce dead zones in the oceans by over-fertilizing oxygen-depleting algae blooms. One technofix to this problem cited by Lynas is the development of new biotech crop varieties that use much less nitrogen to produce even more food. Less fertilizer, more food, and less damage to the environment. A triple win.

In The God Species it is evident that Lynas has not completely escaped the scientific and economic confusions entailed by his earlier commitments to ideological environmentalism, but he is clearly on his way. I want to be one of the first to welcome him to the reality-based community. And in the spirit of the “beer summit” in which President Barack Obama sought to end the acrimony engendered by an unfortunate encounter between a Harvard professor and Cambridge policeman, I invite Lynas and Lomborg to meet together with me at a local D.C. saloon to share beverages of their choice, and perhaps even a slice of pie. I’m buying.

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  • Brett L||

    I salute any person who can get his or herself out of the Malthusian zero sum game and look honestly at what technology has to offer. Good on him.

  • yonemoto||

    Because the earth will be able to provide forever in the face of exponential growth.

  • Jordan||

    Growth is already slowing.

  • wtp||

  • yonemoto||

    depends on where that data's asymptote comes to be, dude.

  • Math||

    "depends on where that data's asymptote comes to be"

    No, idiot, it does not.

  • Brett L||

    Every Malthusian has been wrong since old Tom Malthus himself. I guess someday they'll be right, but in the meantime, let us not go throwing our sabots into the power looms of cheap power and plentiful food, eh?

  • yonemoto||

    I guess someday they'll be right

    That is the only concession that I ask. Some things, like food, seem unlikely to be malthusian in the near term. Other things, maybe not so much. Who knows?

  • ||

    Yonemoto: what is the limit to exponential growth in values?

  • yonemoto||

    I don't understand your question. I do know that my e coli cultures hit a hard limit in growth. It's actually not for lack of food resources. They pickle themselves in their own acetic acid excrement. You can get them to grow denser by chemostatting base.

  • yonemoto||

    to do a side-jab on those futurists like kurzweil who talk about the singularity, based on linear projections of exponential growth - there are other mathematical curves which are, within error, indistinguishable from exponential curves in the early phase, such as the sigmoid curve, or the bell curve.

  • Qetesh||

    The 'exponential' aspect of the the singularity has always seem overemphasized to me, along with the supposed very near (few decade) time horizon.

    The real take away of Vinge's speculations are

    1) It is difficult to believe that human intelligence will not eventually be superseded. I'm guessing 100-200 years. (The higher level theories on human cognition and the understanding of lower level neurophysiological details are both coming along fine in their own right, but they are too far apart to expect miracles anytime soon.)

    2) Once human intelligence is exceeded, we'll eventually be left far behind. Whether that happens quickly or takes another couple of hundred years is irrelevant in the long run. From the standpoint of geological time, it's still a special point at which "everything changes" (Ditto for all of written human history, for that matter.)

  • yonemoto||

    knowing what I know about AI, it's unlikely we will supersede our intelligence. Sure, we can program bots to learn to play tic-tac-toe, or a supercomputer that can play jeopardy. But I can come up with simple questions that a six year old can get right that no computer can.

  • ||

    yonemoto: Sorry for being unclear. My point is that people increasingly value lots of activities that constitute "economic growth" but which do not involve using a lot more stuff (unlike your E. coli), e.g., music, massages, fine restaurant meals, live theatre, more carefully crafted wines, spirits, and beer, fine arts, etc. The amount of paint and cost of the paint used by Picasso is trivial compared to the value of one of his works of art in the market. Essentially, as people become wealthier they shift higher and higher percentages of their consumption toward high value experiences. As far as I can tell there is no necessary limit to the "exponential growth" of experiences except time. This kind of economic growth is thus not limited.

  • Dave||

    The earth is large, the universe is larger.

    I would also like to welcome Lynas to reality. The Environment deserves better than environmental ideology.

  • Old Mexican||

    He [Lynas] correctly calls the Green anti-growth stance a “dead-end ideology” aiming to “urge an unappealing narrative of communitarian austerity on an unwilling public.”


    Who cares if they are not willing? We will MAKE them willing!

    If we can do it for haircuts, my Opiate of the masses! We can do it for the "environment"!

  • jacob||

    So, to make 'them' willing 'WE' shall continue the floggings and shootings till their 'moral' improves?

  • Tony||

    Lynas now strongly rejects the Green ideology that demands the dismantling of the human economy as the “solution” to these alleged crises.

    Then he's rejecting a straw man. I don't doubt that there are some radical environmentalists out there who want to change the world every bit as radically as, say, libertarians. But it's not like they have any political power whatsoever, and nowhere near the funding of, say, interests that deny scientific fact altogether.

    You can say opposition to nuclear is evidence of a nonscientific bias among greens, but they were coming around at least up until we had multiple disasters at nuclear plants. Anyway, there's no reason whatsoever for libertarians to support nuclear--it would not exist except as a government-sponsored enterprise.

    The main argument from the American left about energy has nothing to do with forcing people to accept a lower standard of living. They're saying we're going to force ourselves to accept it unless we change the status quo to something more sustainable, and that entire industries can be built on a simple restructuring of national investment away from the energy status quo and toward sustainability.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The main argument from the American left about energy has nothing to do with forcing people to accept a lower standard of living.


    It is not???
    "Under my [...] energy plan, electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket."

    It isn't??? Come again? Say what???

  • Tony||

    What about the status quo says "good standard of living" to you? The only motivation I'd possibly have for interest in energy policy is to come up with ways to increase the quality of life for human beings. But I think you want to assume the status quo is sustainable indefinitely. A little curious that you think you're entitled to cheap electricity, though. When did the market gods declare that so?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    What about the status quo says "good standard of living" to you?


    Who cares? You were the one caught in an obvious lie!

    The only motivation I'd possibly have for interest in energy policy is to come up with ways to increase the quality of life for human beings.


    That's a lie. Only individuals know what is best for each, not you - you ain't that clever. Nobody is.

    A little curious that you think you're entitled to cheap electricity, though.


    Depends on what you mean. If you mean I am not entitled to purchase electricity at whatever price the market bears but at the price the government says, then you would be wrong.

  • Tony||

    Who cares? You were the one caught in an obvious lie!

    I can't speak to the motivation of every environmentalist, but I reject any political belief system that puts ideology over human well-being.

    I suppose an argument could be made that mere survivability is an increase of quality of life over mass death, but anything mainstream people with policy ideas in this area cares about is strictly within keeping modern standards the same or making them better.

    Only individuals know what is best for each, not you - you ain't that clever. Nobody is.

    Figured out why a forest and a tree can exist simultaneously yet?

    If you mean I am not entitled to purchase electricity at whatever price the market bears but at the price the government says, then you would be wrong.

    The price the market will bear will always be in the context of government policy. Right now, it heavily favors unsustainable, polluting energy. You can't just assume that the status quo is the free market option and that any changes to it are evil government intervention. The real world doesn't accept your premises; there will always be some government influence on energy policy.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I can't speak to the motivation of every environmentalist, but I reject any political belief system that puts ideology over human well-being.


    I would applaud you if that were true. But you and I know you're not being honest.

    Again, only an individual knows what is good for him or her. A political system that purports to know AND impose "well being" on people cannot have people's well-being as a goal, for a variety of reasons, not least of which the "Knowledge Problem."

    The price the market will bear will always be in the context of government policy.


    Not in the context, Tony - again, you do not understand economics. Government policy can only distort prices in monetary terms, but cannot FIX prices in absolute terms: The true price of ANYTHING will always show in other, non-monetary ways; just ask the Cubans, or the North Koreans.

    Right now, it heavily favors unsustainable, polluting energy.


    This "unsustainable" shit is just a red herring. How 'sustainable' was the buggy whip business?

    You can't just assume that the status quo is the free market option and that any changes to it are evil government intervention. The real world doesn't accept your premises; there will always be some government influence on energy policy.


    In the real world, Tony, prices indicate scarcity to actors. Government can only tweak here and there, but it cannot bring abundance. That much has been proven time, and time, and time again, despite your delusions.

  • Erich ||

    Well said, Tony. Government can never create - it must confiscate first before it manufactures the illusion of prosperity or "abundance."

  • Erich ||

    Well said, **Old Mexican** .. Tony is delusional.

  • fish||

    Right now, it heavily favors unsustainable, polluting energy.

    Thought Team Blue had this issue in their crosshairs.

    Guess not.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Figured out why a forest and a tree can exist simultaneously yet?


    Who said they can't? What you believe, that they are both beings, is absurd and I put you to task for believing it. Nobody said that a forest cannot exist; it would be like saying a planetary system cannot exist, but a planetary system is NOT a single being, it is a system composed of planets.

  • Tony||

    It's your bullshit, I'm just along for the ride. So planets, trees, and people are beings. What about mountains, branches, and blood cells? A solar system isn't a being, apparently. What about a galaxy?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So planets, trees, and people are beings.


    Only humans and trees, Tony. Planets are things.

    What about mountains, branches, and blood cells?


    What about them? And what is the point of this discussion? Are you seriously trying to deny the nature of the individual person and his mind? Are you seriously investing your reputation on proving that a society is much a person as a person?

  • Tony||

    I'm saying these designations are arbitrary. Sometimes it makes sense to talk about individuals, sometimes it makes sense to talk about societies. (Same for trees vs. forests or planets vs. solar systems.) You've already tossed your reputation away by trying to claim that there's no such thing as a society.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I'm saying these designations are arbitrary.


    Of course they're arbitrary. A dog does not *know* it is a dog - WE call it a "dog."

    Sometimes it makes sense to talk about individuals, sometimes it makes sense to talk about societies.


    No shit, Sherlock.

    You've already tossed your reputation away by trying to claim that there's no such thing as a society.


    What I said is that "society" is a concept, not a being in itself.

    What YOU have argued is that societies act, like people do, when "deciding" for this or that policy. You would be again confusing the map for the territory - only individuals act, not "societies." The effect of many individuals choosing to act in concert would make it look like "society" acted, but this would be no different than looking at trees bending in the same direction on a windy day: it would be the trees bending, but not the forest itself bending.

  • Neu Mejican||

    What I said is that "society" is a concept, not a being in itself.

    What YOU have argued is that societies act, like people do, when "deciding" for this or that policy. You would be again confusing the map for the territory -

    No, they act like societies act and decide like societies decide. They are a different class of entity.

    only individuals act, not "societies."

    Flat false.

    The effect of many individuals choosing to act in concert would make it look like "society" acted, but this would be no different than looking at trees bending in the same direction on a windy day: it would be the trees bending, but not the forest itself bending.

    Flat false.

    Marvin Minsky looms large.

  • ||

    When you eat your next meal, will you choose the menu, or will "society"? When you dress, will you choose the clothing, or will "society"?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Kant FP,

    Meal: society will present me with the range of choices.

    Clothing: society will present me with the range of choices.

    But this misses the flaw in OM's thinking. His error is primarily in his misunderstanding of how individual organisms function and what constitutes an potential agent.

  • ||

    1. But what if I *gasp* present myself with a totally new choice, because I don't care for the range supplied by society other individuals?

    2. A cell:an organism /:: an organism: it's environment.
    You can join the Borg collective if you wish, but it will still be an individual choice made by a volitional entity.

    C'mon. You're smarter than that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    1. But what if I *gasp* present myself with a totally new choice, because I don't care for the range supplied by society other individuals?

    Try as you might, society will play a role in limiting the range of choices...with very few exceptions.

    2. A cell:an organism /:: an organism: it's environment.

    Ok. But that's off topic.

    You can join the Borg collective if you wish, but it will still be an individual choice made by a volitional entity.

    Ok. You are off topic again, however.

    C'mon. You're smarter than that.

    Why thank you, yes I am.

  • spartacus||

    "Try as you might, society will play a role in limiting the range of choices...with very few exceptions"
    Bullshit. Individuals will choose or not to provide what you wish.

  • ||

    When a society can share a single brai.......wow, maybe I should just stop right there. ;)

  • Neu Mejican||

    ;^)

    Really OM just doesn't think these things through and ends up with inapt analogies left and right. The trees example is particularly egregious.

  • spartacus||

    "Meal: society will present me with the range of choices.

    Clothing: society will present me with the range of choices."

    Bullshit twice. Individuals acting in the market do that.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Bullshit twice. Individuals acting in the market do that.

    Nah. You are missing the point here. Clothing and cuisine choices develop over time in distinct ways in different societies. Those individuals in the market you refer to are just restricted by cultural influences as you are. They are also highly dependent upon the interconnect systems of commerce that support their productive activities. The truly independent producer is an exceedingly rare thing.

  • spartacus||

    "Clothing and cuisine choices develop over time in distinct ways in different societies. Those individuals in the market you refer to are just restricted by cultural influences as you are."

    Bullshit on stilts.
    I'm also restricted by, oh, gravity, but that doesn't mean gravity gave me the available options.
    What I'm "missing" is any sense you have given this any thought.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Meal: society will present me with the range of choices.

    Clothing: society will present me with the range of choices.

    Bullshit.

    The cook or owner of the fucking restaurant will be present with a finite list of culinary options.

    The retailer or seamstress/tailor will present me with a finite list of clothing options.

    Society can't do anything. Only individuals who decide or are coerced to act in a particular way.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Society can't do anything. Only individuals who decide or are coerced to act in a particular way.

    Given that this thread is about "the reality based community," the number of folks her trying to argue this perspective is pretty ironic. A society is indeed made up of independent agents with some degree of free will. But the concept of agency is not limited to these individuals. Collectives act all the time and set limits and conditions on the actions/choices of the individuals within their purview. The illusion of total independence is subjectively powerful, but is not reality-based.

  • sevo||

    "Collectives act all the time and set limits and conditions on the actions/choices of the individuals within their purview."

    You keep making that claim without a single piece of evidence. Repeating bullshit does nothing to change its status as bullshit.
    Oh, and you might try "reality" once; it's a tonic for your fantasies.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Sevo,

    You keep making that claim without a single piece of evidence. Repeating bullshit does nothing to change its status as bullshit.

    The repetition came from the group claiming "only individuals act, societies can't act." I called bullshit and saw no evidence to support the position. If you have a blind spot for the evidence I put forward for my position, it is not my problem.

    Oh, and you might try "reality" once; it's a tonic for your fantasies.

    Give me some reality to chew on...I'll try anything. You got some facts to back up the position that OM put forward? Or are you just about the substance free snark?

  • sevo||

    "Give me some reality to chew on...I'll try anything."
    All the evidence presented, of which your fantasy blinds you.
    You have made the claim that society takes action, and offered no evidence. Others have claimed that individuals take action and offered evidence that individuals take action.
    Your stupidity is your problem, not mine. But you seem quite proud of it.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Snark then. As expected.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Keep you eye on the ball. The proposition I called bullshit on was "only individuals act, not "societies."

    So far there has been evidence presented to support the idea that individuals make choices. That was never in dispute.

  • God-Emperor Tony||

    I am too that clever. You will worship me for my wisdom and do ANYTHING I tell you to do.

  • ||

    A little curious that you think you're entitled to cheap electricity, though. When did the market gods declare that so?

    The market has produced ever cheaper electricity since the discovery of electricity....and cheep energy raises living standards.

    I don't know about entitled but markets lower the cost of energy and raise standards of living. Why do you oppose raising living standards?

  • Tony||

    I favor increasing standards of living, so it would be prudent to figure out sooner rather than later how to implement sustainable energy, so the market can do its thing over time and make it cheaper.

    I also favor redistributionist policy so that we actually can have increasing standard of living for everyone, not just the top 1%.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I favor increasing standards of living, so it would be prudent to figure out sooner rather than later how to implement sustainable energy[...]


    Non sequitur.

    I also favor redistributionist policy so that we actually can have increasing standard of living for everyone, not just the top 1%.


    Tony-logics 101: People are not living well unless rich people are no longer rich.

  • Tony||

    Can I dismiss your arguments by simply throwing out random latin phrases?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Can I dismiss your arguments by simply throwing out random latin phrases?


    Only if I indulge in non sequiturs like you:

    "I favor increasing standards of living, so it would be prudent to figure out sooner rather than later how to implement sustainable energy."

    One thing does not follow the other. Just because you favor something does not give everybody the starting shot for something entirely different.

    "I favor girls in pink dresses and ponytails, so it would be prudent to figure out sooner or later how to grow wings."

  • yonemoto||

    I also favor redistributionist policy so that we actually can have increasing standard of living for everyone, not just the top 1%.

    From a guy who is pro-inflation.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    When our next revolution comes, Tony gets the first bullet. Fucking thief.

  • jacob||

    Until the idiot greens came along, most forms of progress decreased the unit price of a goods and services, like food and energy. With wind mills and organic farming we all will either freeze to death in the winter, or, die of starvation because the crops have failed. That is the utopia the greens are dreaming of.

    So Toni, how is raising the cost of basic goods and services NOT going to decrease our standard of living?

  • Tony||

    It might. How is introducing more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere going to raise anyone's standard of living long-term? I'm not sure radically altering the climate worldwide is the most sensible solution if you favor a modern or better standard of living.

    You don't get to just assume that the status quo will last forever. So what makes you entitled to cheap energy? Especially given how it only appears cheap because you're only paying attention to the consumer price and not subsidies or external costs.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    How is introducing more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere going to raise anyone's standard of living long-term?


    By raising the level of food for plants.

    Remember them? They consume CO2.

    You don't get to just assume that the status quo will last forever.


    Who assumes that? The rapid changes that have occured in the last 150 years are testament that the Status Quo is an illusion. YOU, on the other hand, WANT a risk-averse "Status Quo" called "sustainability."

  • Tony||

    OM you have a lot of nerve lecturing people about their lack of a basic understanding of things when you say things like CO2 is plant food, therefore the more the better!

    If the market were as magical as you think it is, to the extent of solving all our energy and pollution problems all by itself, then it would have found out a way to get us off oil and coal long ago. Instead the market has done just what I said: entrenched the status quo (including influencing public policy) for the sake of the short-term profits of current participants.

    It innovates more ways to drill for oil, but not ways to stop using oil. We need it to do the latter. If it's not, that is a prima facie example of its limits.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If the market were as magical as you think it is, to the extent of solving all our energy and pollution problems all by itself, then it would have found out a way to get us off oil and coal long ago.


    What makes you think that is the solution? The problem resides not in the market, but on your own paranoid mind.

    You remind me of the person that walked backwards on the busy sidewalk just to know the feeling of thinking he was sane and the rest were crazy for walking face-forward.

  • ||

    OM you have a lot of nerve lecturing people about their lack of a basic understanding of things when you say things like CO2 is plant food, therefore the more the better!

    Tony, you're doing a tragically effective job of demonstrating the failure of whatever school wasted your time as a child.

    Does the word "photosynthesis" mean anything to you?

    -jcr

  • Tony||

    How does it follow that because CO2 is useful for plants that there is no limit to the amount we can dump in the atmosphere? Your problem is you need to get past kindergarten science.

  • ||

    > Your problem is you need to get past kindergarten science.

    I suppose in your kindergarten, they spent most of the time teaching you to lick boots.

    Don't pretend that your global warming fetish is anything more than your chosen religion. When the CRU got caught cooking the books, the whole fraudulent enterprise was exposed.

    -jcr

  • Sam Grove||

    How much do we dump into the atmosphere relative to the total annual atmospheric/ocean/biomass exchange?

  • ||

    How much do we dump into the atmosphere relative to the total annual atmospheric/ocean/biomass exchange?

    CO2 is a trace gas, making up 0.39% of the atmosphere. Human activity accounts for around 3.2% of that 0.39%.

    -jcr

  • Tony||

    So what? The numbers are small, therefore... what?

  • God-Idiot Tony||

    My pee-pee is even smaller.

  • ||

    You are the one who denied that CO2 was a nutrient for plants, thilly.

  • sevo||

    "A little curious that you think you're entitled to cheap electricity, though."
    Who says it's cheap, shithead?

  • fish||

    Anyway, there's no reason whatsoever for libertarians to support nuclear--it would not exist except as a government-sponsored enterprise.

    Touche! Lets see if you can extend this line of thinking to all the other nonsense that you cheerlead!

  • Johnny Clamboat||

    It has to be the right kind of market failure.

  • Realist||

    And the pissing match is on....AGAIN!

  • jacob||

    If green lunatics have NO power explain why we have not built a nuclear power plant since the late 70's? The new designs are passively stable, and unlike coal power do not emit CO2, and radiation in the form of C14.

    It has been the lunatics in the enviro left that has lead us to this point where we are forced to buy oil from people who hate us. We are one of the most oil rich countries in the world, but we do not drill for it.

    Instead we are buiding and tilting at wind mills. All hail Obummer. All hail the idiot Repubes who drank the AGW kool-aid.

  • Tony||

    So what you're saying is you are in favor of the heavily government-subsidized (government sustained, actually) nuclear industry? Fine. All else being equal I definitely prefer a non-carbon emitting alternative.

    But your facts are wrong on oil--we have 3% of the world's reserves and consume 25% of the world's oil. Any claim that we could support our energy needs with our own supply (which would go to the world market anyway) are nonsense propaganda.

    But why is your opinion relevant since you obviously don't accept scientific facts that you don't like?

  • jacob||

    No reason to have guv'mint subsidization. The biggest cost driver is the 15 to 20 YEARS of red tape in the form of environmental impact statements, AND, litigation one has to go through just to break ground.

    Actually nowadays, the nuclear industry has what are called 'Gen IV' systems that are not in the 1.5gW range. These are actually truck transportable systems (wide load) that pump out 150mW range and are used to power a factory plus a bit more (like the mill town and valley around it.)

    The system does not require maintenance. Instead in 20 years a new system is brought in and the old one is returned to the manufacturer for refitting. This idea is catching on elsewhere in the world, but not here.
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf33.html

  • Tony||

    If more efficient nuclear alternatives are not gaining ground in the US you can bet it has more to do with political pressure from oil and coal than it does greens. Environmentalists just aren't that powerful--they certainly aren't more powerful than the nuclear lobby, and they aren't more powerful than the American god-given claim to NIMBY rights.

  • ||

    If more efficient nuclear alternatives are not gaining ground in the US you can bet it has more to do with political pressure from oil and coal than it does greens.

    Actually, it has far more to do with the fact that oil and coal are still vastly cheaper than the alternatives. You don't need guys in top hats and monocles running around conspiring to keep cheap fuels on top.

    -jcr

  • jacob||

    When Westinghouse is trying to build a plant it is the Enviro wackos who are filing suits. Not BP or ACME Coal co. Furthermore, it is the enviro wackos who have demanded environmental impact statements. For all economic activity.

    These statements are a preposterous exercise in that the statements are configured in a manner that the those filing must prove a negative.

    You remember hat they taught you Toni about proving negatives? Do you?

  • sevo||

    "So what you're saying is you are in favor of the heavily government-subsidized (government sustained, actually) nuclear industry?"
    Shithead, is it possible for you to respond to what someone actually wrote instead of your ignorant rants?

    "Any claim that we could support our energy needs with our own supply :
    Hey, shithead. No one made that claim outside of you.

  • NotSure||

    He said no such thing about wanting a government subsidy, that is what you are saying. One can want a non subsidised nuclear industry, is such an idea inconceivable for you ?

  • Tony||

    Actually yes. Such an idea does not make sense. Especially if you're going to completely dismiss solar and wind as being too expensive outside government subsidy. There wouldn't BE a nuclear industry without government subsidy--to the tune of billions of dollars for infrastructure, research, limited liability, and other elements. The simple fact is you could not insure a nuclear plant in the private market; it would never be economical to build one.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The simple fact is you could not insure a nuclear plant in the private market; it would never be economical to build one.


    If only the government provided shoes, you would argue that a shoe factory would be too costly to be built by the private sector.

  • sevo||

    "Such an idea does not make sense."
    The fact that you're an ignoramus is your problem.

  • NotSure||

    There are companies with more capital than many countries, even countries with nuclear power plants, so the first assertion that only governments are rich enough is crap. The real impendiment for nuclear power plants is not cost its politics, In Germany for example because of a tsunami in Japan, they decided to ban future nuclear plants, not because of costs, but because of green lunatics such as you.

    Technology advances whether you like it or not,smaller plant models will become ever more feasible, like China is heading towards. If everyone thought like you 100 years ago, yes then nothing would have been created. Luckily not everyone has a useless sociology degree like you, and will keep on proving people like you wrong again and again.

  • Tony||

    Well I am only questioning libertarian support for nuclear, given the fact that it wouldn't even exist, let alone be sustained, without strong government support. Government invented it for christ's sake. Still, advanced nuclear is preferable to oil and coal--though it's a bit weird to dismiss environmentalists as lunatics because they happened to witness a REAL NUCLEAR CRISIS IN THE REAL WORLD.

  • NotSure||

    Government invented it, so only government can run it is not an argument. Nazi's created rockets and the Soviets created satellites, so I take it only they can do it right ?

    It is easy to dismiss as stupid, because tsunamis do not normally occur in Germany, the reaction in Germany was worse than even in the country where it happened, so yes it is utter lunacy. It is made even more ludicrous, because they will end up buying the power from France next door, which gets 80% of its energy from nuclear.

  • Sam Grove||

    libertarian support for nuclear

    Evidence of cluelessness.

    Libertarians do not "support nuclear", libertarians support free market processes to provide energy from viable sources.

  • ||

    "Libertarians do not "support nuclear", libertarians support free market processes to provide energy from viable sources."

    Correct but Progressive Liberals cannot draw their own conclusions even from simple problems, they need the nanny state to "lead them to the answer"

  • ||

    The simple fact is you could not insure a nuclear plant in the private market; it would never be economical to build one.

    I wouldn't be too sure of that. Nuclear has established a long enoguh track record that you can probably do some competent risk analysis and price it compared to other technologies.

  • Dickensian snark||

    Tony, thank you for giving me here a perfect opportunity to describe why I hate you. You made the bald-faced assertion that greens who would sacrifice the economy for the environment do not have "any political power whatsoever" as part of your categorization of Lynas's former Green ideology as a "strawman".

    jacob counters this assertion of no green power with: "If green lunatics have NO power explain why we have not built a nuclear power plant since the late 70's?" And implies that with modern safety controls, nuclear should be acceptable from a safety standpoint.

    You respond with a minor ad hominem: "So what you're saying is you are in favor of the heavily government-subsidized (government sustained, actually) nuclear industry?" and then a major ad hominem: "But why is your opinion relevant since you obviously don't accept scientific facts that you don't like?" Neither of these statements are remotely relevant--jacob's assertion would be valid (or not) whether he himself wants nuclear or not. It would even have the same validity if he himself were a green.

    Oh sure, I see that further down when pushed again, you pulled out a "Its actually Big Oil and Big Coal and Big Polluter not the greens". That doesn't change the fact that reading your stuff is like reading a politician' newspaper editorial. Enough words are spelled right and the sentences are constructed well enough to make it seem legitimate on the surface. But everything you say is in furtherance of a previously held agenda, not an honest attempt to seek the truth of a situation. It doesn't matter if your arguments are flawed, as long as they are believable enough.

    I enjoy arguing with those with whom I disagree. Its the only way to either find out I'm wrong, or to find flaws in the way I present my argument if I am correct. What I can't stand is a hyprocrite. There is no value in arguing against an ad hominem.

    Go to hell.

  • Tony||

    And who are you?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Respond to the arguments, dipshit.

  • ||

    He's someone who's a lot smarter than you are, Tony. Pay attention and you might learn something from him.

    -jcr

  • spartacus||

    Me.

  • ||

    Yes, Tony is almost always a disingenuous P.O.S. I can't tell if he's trolling us to waste our time or if he simply has no recognition of cognitive dissonance. In his view, we're all a bunch of right-wing, corporate-dick-sucking hypocrites who want the poor to die in a fire, never mind that his own philosophy of government subservience in the name of "equality" killed millions more poor people than even grotesque statist corporatism ever did. Ok, Tony, I know. I made you and your philosophy into a straw man, but it's totally par for your course.

  • Tony||

    But who are these greens who would sacrifice the economy for the environment? I'm willing to be shown who they are, but I certainly wouldn't take anyone seriously who cared more about spotted owls than human beings--I just don't think such people exist as any real political force. They exist mostly, it seems, to serve as a convenient straw man for people who for one reason or another don't want to address these issues in a realistic way.

    This issue particular is maddening, because the majority of the people here seem to think it's OK to simply invent their own factual universe. We can't even get to agreement on basic facts that science has uncovered--anything that doesn't have a libertarian-friendly policy solution can just be dismissed. So before we can even get to policy discussions I have to figure out why so many of you think it's acceptable to just reject facts you don't like.

  • sevo||

    "But who are these greens who would sacrifice the economy for the environment?"
    Rhetorical question or abysmal ignorance?
    You decide.

  • juris imprudent||

    Both.

  • Edwin||

    the dude who said we don't have the right to wipe out mosquitos to get rid of malaria, the dude who said he woulkd cheer for a massive disease that would kill billions of humans and then THE ENTIRE FUCKING CROWD CHEERED at an environmentalist convention, the whale guy who used to ram whaling ships and said that no human settlement should be more than 20,000 people
    The guys who deliberately set off their mountain-lion counter devices in favor of their own ideology when they were working for the federal government

    guys like that Tony

    the problem is that environmentalist jobs are a self-selecting industry/job-market - it tends to attract those dedicated to the cause. Guys who are much more like normal people who don't have some strong ideology and won't put it above people do NOT end up in places that affect policy (NGO's, parts of federal wildlife/resource management research teams)

  • Dickensian snark||

    So before we can even get to policy discussions I have to figure out why so many of you think it's acceptable to just reject facts you don't like.

    No, you don't. Feel free to point out errors as you go, but you needn't try to educate everyone else beforehand.

    The problem is when you take a discussion of facts and turn it into a discussion of ideology. The article was primarily about Lynas's research into facts that he had previously taken for granted (sperm counts, biotech, etc), and then about the effect that had on beliefs he had previously held. Bailey then describes Lynas's change in philosophy as rejecting "Green ideology that demands the dismantling of the human economy".

    Now, instead of perhaps attacking this as a bit of hyperbole and then proceeding on to discuss the actual meat of the article, you go into a tailspin over the validity of environmentalist thought. No, you say, anyone who believes that is a "radical", mainstream greens have it right. And right there you've derailed from a discussion of the subject matter into an argument over semantics. Who cares? Who cares exactly what percentage of greens believe what? Here we have someone who (for over a decade) has publically self-identified as a green, who has held, and now rejects, many positions that a reasonable person would regard as "green", but all you can see is a strawman in Bailey's description of the effects of some of those policies on the economy.

    Without deigning to discuss why, for instance, opposing GM crops could be characterized as "sacrificing the economy", I submit that to an extent ALL such political labels are, or can be, strawmen because they are poorly defined terms. So what someone here defines as a green differs from what you describe as a green, which, as you yourself have said, differs from what other greens call a green. Labels are useful, but they must be used carefully, we must recognize when our definitions of labels differ, and we must recognize that the value is in the ideas the label represents, not in the label itself.

    So to defend "greens" or "Greens" or the label "green" against a characterization attacked here that is clearly held by some who actually self-identify as green is the height of silliness and irrelevancy. The ultimate irony is to see you then attack someone's (as jacob's) libertarian bonafides as compared to your own libertarian yardstick!

    Your arguments are the philosophical equivalent of pulling a straight party ticket.

  • Dickensian snark||

    Dammit. First line should be in quotes. Always preview.

  • Tony||

    Here we have someone who (for over a decade) has publically self-identified as a green, who has held, and now rejects, many positions that a reasonable person would regard as "green", but all you can see is a strawman in Bailey's description of the effects of some of those policies on the economy.

    But, like Lomborg, he's a "green" with some questionable credibility issues. Really who cares what he thinks? One guy among many happened to gravitate toward libertarianism, based, apparently, on a distorted view of what the green movement is all about. It's not my fault he was a radical with stupid views. Why should we listen to him now?

  • sevo||

    I see, shithead, you've yet to admit you're a pathological liar. As in "But who are these greens who would sacrifice the economy for the environment?"

    Further:
    "It's not my fault he was a radical with stupid views. Why should we listen to him now?"
    Uh, because others are radicals with stupid views who might learn from him?

  • Dickensian snark||

    Maybe on the basis of what he has to say, and not on the label slapped on his forehead? Why does his credibility as a green affect the validity of his arguments? What are his credibility issues, anyway? That he has changed some of his views? That he doesn't toe the "green" line?

    Again, you start every argument with an appeal to authority (even if it a nebulous ideology) and proceed from there, with leaves you with ad hominem as your means of attacking those who differ.

    Lynas's statements are true or not regardless of his political beliefs, regardless of who he his or where he comes from. Don't you realize that the entire paragraph you wrote is a series of attacks on the person without regard to the legitimacy of his factual statements? He has a "distorted view" of the "green movement" and apparently was corrupted by "libertarianism". Perish the thought that perhaps his underlying values are similar to yours, but that his experiences (or maybe even his logical errors) lead him to different conclusions than you.

    It's as though you identify with the label "green" before the ideas that are behind it. So, if you disagree with someone, its not enough to counter their arguments, you must brand them "not a true green", or question their credibility. You're a green, you're right, therefore being a green is right, therefore anyone who disagrees with you is not actually a green.

    The "stupid views" you refer to are things that at least some who have described themselves as greens have embraced. Maybe you want to make the point that the numbers of those people is smaller than some believe. Maybe you're right. But that quickly becomes worthless semantics. Arguing over labels is a fool's errand--only facts and interpretations are worth arguing over. Don't get me wrong, we all engage in it from time to time, but it seems to be all you focus on.

  • ||

    I...I am nearly brought to tears

  • Bradley||

    Tony, kill yourself now and save us all some embarrassment.

  • Trident||

    You have no clue what kind of energy would exist if libertarians had their way; the free market has a knack of coming up with very creative ideas and solutions.
    If some parasitical government bureaucrat can come up with an idea, people in the free market come up with ideas that are 100 times better.

    Furthermore, even if something merely exists in the current situation because it is financed by taxes, it merely means libertarians oppose the method of financing, and not necessarily the concept or technology.
    It's not as if people are free to independently come up with these types of technology anyway, since thanks to types like you government has its grubby little paws in every aspect of day to day life, and could be hindering some great ideas thanks to regulations, permits, taxes etc as we speak.

  • Tony||

    You have no clue what kind of energy would exist if libertarians had their way

    Yes, yes, you'd all be John Galts if not for [insert whiny excuse].

    since thanks to types like you government has its grubby little paws in every aspect of day to day life

    It's not thanks to my "type" that government heavily favors oil and coal over sustainable alternatives. I WANT the market to work as you claim it can--and sticking with a 19th century energy paradigm doesn't seem to be cutting it.

    This is the problem with the market. We may be innovating ways to find more oil, but the market isn't equipped to ask the question whether we shouldn't be innovating different fuel sources altogether. The market, unfortunately, tends to be rather myopic in these things. If you can hugely profit short-term from the status quo, why bother investing in something more difficult? That's why policy has to come in, to direct the market in useful directions rather than self-destructive ones.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I WANT the market to work as you claim it can--and sticking with a 19th century energy paradigm doesn't seem to be cutting it.


    There's no such thing as an energy paradigm, Tony. That statement just tells me in no uncertain terms that you do not understand what "paradigm" means, or even simple PHYSICS.

    This is the problem with the market. We may be innovating ways to find more oil, but the market isn't equipped to ask the question whether we shouldn't be innovating different fuel sources altogether.


    No, the market already answered that question. It is YOU who does not like the answer - who is the one living in la-la land, Tony? You are quick to accuse others instead of looking at yourself.

    The market, unfortunately, tends to be rather myopic in these things.


    But not you, oh clever one!

  • Tony||

    The market has deemed oil and coal to be the preferred sources of energy. OK, but energy and coal are polluting the earth and are obviously unsustainable. So the market has failed if your goal is sustainable clean energy.

    Easy workaround: deny that they are dirty and unsustainable.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The market has deemed oil and coal to be the preferred sources of energy. OK, but energy and coal are polluting the earth and are obviously unsustainable.


    Tony, I am trying to be as equanimous as I can be even when facing your bullshit. You can't say at the same time that one form of energy is both "polluting" and "unsustainable." If it is unsustainable, then it won't be polluting for much longer, would it? And if it's polluting, why would you decry its supposed "unsustainability"?

    The so-called "sustainability" canard is used as if resources were utilized in an irrational way. That may have happened in countries where private property rights were negated, like Soviet Russia (whose government converted pristine lakes into smelly, polluted swamps,) but otherwise the price system indicates to all actors the scarcity of resources in an economic efficient way. Once resources start becoming more expensive to obtain, then actors will simply switch to other resources - this is your 'susteinability.' If it SO happens that oil or gas become more expensive to extract and supply, then other alternatives will become more attactive and profitable.

    An example of this is how the whale blubbler industry was replaced by the oil industry. It was PEOPLE (the market) that shifted their purchasing decisions towards the new fuel, which also meant that many whales were saved from possible extinction.

    So the market has failed if your goal is sustainable clean energy.


    And if it is not, then not - right? You talk about goals as if plans were pertinent instead of people's choices.

    Easy workaround: deny that they are dirty and unsustainable.


    You think that wind and solar are sustainable? Do you know how many different bearing systems have to be lubricated in a wind farm? And how much time and resources would be required to keep solar panels clean? How much land panels occupy? How much MORE COPPER CABLE has to be laid to connect all the windmills compared to a simple gas plant?

    YOU, my friend, are an irremediable romantic.

  • tarran||

    The other thing about windmills is that they don't generate power stably; the power factor (the phase angle between the peak current and peak voltage) is all over the place.

    So, to give some sembelance of control another generator that reconditions the power output to have the proper current/voltage relationship is needed.

    So, windmills have to have fossil fuel burning generators of similar capacity idling in order to provide low power corrections. Still burning fossil fuels, still producing greenhouse gases, but now the quality of the electricity is reduced, the grid is less stable, and now you are employing even more people to produce every erg of energy.

    Heinlein's prediction of the crazy years coming at the end of the 20th century was not too far off. His big mistake was thinking that, like in the 19th century, the crazy would be christian pietists. Instead, the crazy is coming from the greens.

  • ||

    Yes, yes, you'd all be John Galts

    No, a few people would be, and the rest of us would benefit from their efforts.

    Did you ever read Ayn Rand, or are you just repeating what your fellow leftards told you she wrote?

    -jcr

  • Tony||

    Yes I read it, and I still wondered why people can only be barrier-breaking innovators if the world gets rid of all its barriers.

  • ||

    I still wondered why people can only be barrier-breaking innovators if the world gets rid of all its barriers.

    WTF? I'm not recognizing this particular straw man of yours.

    -jcr

  • Trident||

    For the same reason that a guy who runs a marathon doesn't like people putting hurdles in his path.

    If environmentalists could go back in time we'd still be riding horse carriages and lighting up the house with candles.
    Take a look at the technological advancements we made, and then wonder how much further we'd be if government NOW would just get the hell out of the way. We could have long had cleaner alternatives already.
    Of course such advancements might have cost a lot of jobs, which explains why government likes to get in the way since it likes to juggle ideals of a clean environment as well as job security. So if cleaner technology is going to bankrupt a dirty industry and cost a lot of jobs i guess you're out of luck. That's what you get when you want to save the world; reality doesn't conform to all of your lofty ideals.

  • Amakudari||

    But it's not like they have any political power whatsoever, and nowhere near the funding of, say, interests that deny scientific fact altogether.

    Isn't this a little bit like saying beagles can't possible outnumber dogs in general?

    Many environmental ideologues have expressed an immunity to scientific reasoning regarding GM crops, human population and nuclear power (example). For them, it's just as religious, emotional and unscientific an argument as that from Young Earth creationists, it's just that arguments in some areas are helpfully supplemented by real facts. They won't deny facts that support their argument, but will those that don't.

  • ||

    +1

    yeah, austerity will find us with or without or consent under a business as usual situation. Thermodynamics tells us so.

  • ||

    Uh oh, he's left the cult! They'll want to burn him! Who is stupider; enviro-cultists or Scientologists? I mean, it's Xenu versus Gaia, people. Let's vote.

  • ||

    "Reality-Based Community" is my favorite label ever. It's as accurate when used to describe the left as it would have been for the Nazis to call themselves the "Jew-Loving Community."

  • ||

    The best part is they don't realize how funny it is. What next? The "Liberty-Based" Community?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • ||

    The Liberalanarchist Alliance?

  • ||

    You are part of the Liberalanarchist Alliance and a jerkwad! Take him away!

  • ||

    Speaking of that line, did you ever notice what comes after that? "Holding her is dangerous. If word of this gets out, it could generate sympathy for the Rebellion in the Senate."

    Now, in the next couple of films, you're getting strangled with the Force for that kind of backtalk. But in Star Wars, Vader is all about brute competence and wants to hear the bad news, provided that you don't insult his devotion to the Force. Sad how low this great, great character went in the prequels.

    Anyway, Congress has a new name: The Ethics-Based Community.

  • ||

    Star Wars is also different in that Vader reports to Peter Cushing Grand Moff Tarkin, meaning he's not in charge at that point.

    "Enough of this! Vader, release him!"

  • ||

    And there's the "holding Vader's leash" remark. Man, they should do a TV series just based on stuff Tarkin and Vader did, before Tarkin's unfortunate death by exploding Death Star.

  • ||

    I'd also like the backstory on the title "Grand Moff."

  • ||

    The backstory on "Grand Moff" is it made Lucas think of his mother. Oh wait, that was "Grand Muff". So basically, it was just some totally made up nonsense words, like everything else Lucas wrote.

  • ||

    It's really inescapable to think "muff" when you hear "Moff." Oddly, this somehow enhances, rather than detracts from, the coolness of Tarkin.

    I bet if he'd lived, he'd have seized the empire from the emperor. Without having to use the Force.

  • ||

    Vader is more a bent samurai and The Emperor is corrupt Master, in Star Wars.

    That scene is terrible for the retconn of the prequels for another reason:

    "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels' hidden fort-"

    25 years ago, two Jedi being loose on a starship was pants-shitting terror time (Ep1, opening actions sequence) and Jedis were so dangerous 19 years before, that it took a clone army to wipe them out, and Vader still walks around choking people with his mind... yet the generals of the Empire thinks it's some sort of bullshit quaint belief like Vader was a Zoroastrian or a Wiccan...

  • ||

    Well, the Empire might've been cocky after killing most of the Jedi.

  • ||

    Not that I excuse the prequels in any way. Just realize that the story in the video game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was fifty times better than the best parts of the prequels combined, and you see how bad the prequels really were.

  • ||

    That's because as the story grew, and the Jedi Knight became iconic, and Lucas started to expand the things that Jedis could do, they got stupid powerful.

    Lucas is a terrible writer, and you know he barely sketched out the history of the Jedi before writing Star Wars. Of course it was going to change as more history got sketched in as it served his needs.

  • ||

    I disagreed with Neu's statement that Star Wars was a more or less direct ripoff of LOTR, but one thing that is similar between the two is the more subtle powers of the "wizards." Which is one of the things that made the characters so compelling. You knew they were really powerful, but the extent of their powers was never really plumbed, and it seemed it was more willpower, the ability to do just about anything well, and a vast amount of knowledge than "magic."

    Fucking Jedi leaping and cavorting around--boring.

  • ||

    What made Vader so fascinating in the first one was the mystery of his powers. What else could he do? Is there anyone else who can do this stuff? As the story went on, Lucas began to quantify the "rules" of what Jedis can do, and lost the mystery. He also did what he does best, which is ruin his own shit by overdoing it.

    He essentially jumped the shark/nuked the fridge with the Jedis, because if you make them too powerful, they are boring. This happens to many superheroes as well.

    "You will take me to Jabba now. You serve your master well."

  • ||

    It was more of a will thing. You could overcome a weak guy's will, but not someone who wasn't weak, even if he couldn't use the Force. You could get yourself to do things to the limit of your species' abilities. Not totally crazy stuff. There was the choking business, which meant some telekinesis (which got worse as the films rolled out), but it wasn't totally over the top. On the other hand, one does wonder if size matters not, why Yoda didn't point his hand at the Death Star and plunge the bitch into a star.

    Later, of course, Jedi could do all kinds of nonsense.

  • ||

    Back to the Gandalf comparison, he was insanely powerful, but the books didn't have him demonstrating that power over and over again. In fact, it's pretty clear that his mission was never to challenge Sauron directly but to encourage and support mortals in the fight.

    Given that the wizards were, in the Tolkien mythology, lesser-order angels, the restraint shown in portraying Gandalf is something I wish Lucas had ripped off.

  • ||

    Obi-Wan is the comparison to Ghandalf, and Lucas actually stayed pretty restrained with him.

  • ||

    Prince Faisal was a great Jedi--all downhill after that.

  • ||

    That's because Obi-wan died in the first film. If he'd lived he would probably be flinging death stars around.

    Speaking of which, you die and become more powerful than your enemies can imagine, and this state consists of? Projecting a hologram of yourself and sending people psychic messages.

    I think Obi-wan got ripped off.

  • proegg antichicken||

    what prequels? In my reality there are three Star Wars movies and they make a pretty decent trilogy. Nobody would ever overuse cgi with cardboard cutouts for characters to append to the trilogy. Would they?

  • ||

    I endorse this view.

  • Neu Mejican||

    In my reality Star Wars was a diptych, and therefore better than your trilogy due to the lack of furry hobbits with zippers up their saggy butts.

  • ||

    No, ROTJ was partially good. Someday, the Ewoks will be removed and replaced with Wookies armed with blasters.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Or hobbits with Mithril armor, perhaps.

    Will Darth Vader still turn out to be Uncle Fester in this reworked version?

  • ||

    Compared to the Creationist conservative community?

    The aborto-freaks and flag wavers?

  • sevo||

    "The aborto-freaks and flag wavers?"
    Your issues are your problem. You should find someone who cares about your sorry state.

  • NotSure||

    Because if one is not a Gaia worshipper, then one logically has to an aborto-freak.

  • jacob||

    My vote goes to the Gaia worshipers. Their science is total crap and living in yurts, eating tofu is NO fun. At least Scientology's 'god' is an ass kicking dictator who nukes all who oppose him. That rocks.

  • fish||

    At least Scientology's 'god' is an ass kicking dictator who nukes all who oppose him. That rocks.

    You know if they would just describe it this way I'd have to look into it.

  • ||

    THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE

  • fish||

    Back off Epi or I'll see if Scientologys god will smite you for me!

  • ||

    THIS IS WHAT FISH ACTUALLY BELIEVES

  • fish||

    Time to lay the Smite down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jacob||

    Xenu will send forth his archangel Slim Pickens. Bow low or fry maggots

  • ||

    THIS IS WHAT XENU ACTUALLY BELIEVES

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH BELIEVES THAT HE WANT SOME OF THAT FINE XENU TAIL. STEVE SMITH NOT CONCERNED WITH THE RELIGIOUS CONSEQUENCES

  • ||

    STEVE SMITH WANT LIVE ON UNDERAGED RAPE BOAT LIKE STEVE SMITH HERO L. RON HUGHARD!

  • ||

    THIS IS WHAT STEVE SMITH ACTUALLY BELIEVES

  • ||

    THERE ARE SO MANY CAPS ON THIS THREAD OK GUYS WHO TURNED ON THE "CRAZY" SWITCH CAN YOU PLEASE TURN IT OFF KTHXBAI

  • Episiarch is a loser||

    "THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE"

    Here we have an example of why Episiarch is a loser. Once again, he references a cartoon, repeating a well worn catch phrase, in a pathetic attempt to earn some small shred of credibility. As is often the case with people who are losers, he has neither moved on from his youth, nor realized that regurgitating someone else's funny is rarely funny.

  • NotSure||

    Perhaps the green ideas are losing favour is because of the economic problems currently engulfing the world. When the good times return, I see all the crazy green solutions returning with a vengeance.

  • ||

    And hot, green alien chicks. Don't forget the hot, green alien chicks....

  • ||

    What is it with "endangered species"? Since 99% of the animals that have lived upon the earth are now extinct, why in the hell do the greenies crap their pants when some owl isn't smart enough to find a different nesting site?

    Back in the day when they actually taught science in public schools they mentioned that it was natural for animals that failed to adapt to go extinct. Now it seems that if there is a species that is believed to possibly be failing to adapt it MUST be because of human action. Talk about a fucking God complex.

    I mean, it HAS to be because of ME, right?! Shit stains.

  • ||

    See, this is why we need the following three things:

    (1) Extremely cheap energy (fusion or better),

    (2) Extremely cheap access to space, and

    (3) Extremely cheap ability to transmute elements at will, in massive quantities.

    With these three things, we can construct another Earth, move endangered species to it, and not worry so much about extinction.

  • Brett L||

    Re: (3) -- since hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and we're positing fusion, we pretty much can transmute elements at will, as long as our fusion generation energy is greater than our energy demand for industrial fusion products.

  • yonemoto||

    sadly, it's not as easy as you think.

  • yonemoto||

    (you get stuck at iron)

  • Chemistry||

    "(you get stuck at iron)"

    No, actually, you do not, that just happens to be where the process uses more energy than it releases. Feel free to look it up, and get back to us when you see that you are wrong, then in the future, save the puerile know it all attitude for shit you actually know about.

  • yonemoto||

    I'm working on #1 and #2. Mark my words before the end of the decade, you will see the name yonemoto behind a nuclear fusion solution and a space probe that went to mars in under $40k (gotta take into account inflation, sadly), including launch costs.

  • ||

    Well, okay then. I'll be waiting.

  • yonemoto||

    I'll consider it a success if I get one out of the two done.

  • sevo||

    So will I

  • Shut the fuck up liar||

    "you will see the name yonemoto behind a nuclear fusion solution "

    Then you might want to actually know what the fuck you're talking about when it comes to fusion first.

  • cynical||

    I know, why isn't anyone counting species created or saved?

  • ||

    Haven't read the piece yet.

    Judging by the photo, is this a Peter North article?

  • ||

    Bailey is a damn fine fella.

  • spencer||

    WHERE'S THE GOOGLE+ Button for sharing!?!

  • ||

    "fulsome" does mean what it used to mean, doesn't it? If so. Huh?

  • ||

    me/dwc: See Oxford dictionary entry. In this case, I am hoping it means an "abundant" mea culpa. Perhaps I should say forthright?

  • ||

    Yea, ok, I guess. I found this:

    http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/fulsome.html

  • ||

    It means offensive, right?

  • ||

    It means "a girl with a big juicy ass."

  • ||

    Now, I don't mind an ample ass, but I just don't get the adjective "juicy" in that area. That doesn't sound like a good thing to me.

  • Trident||

    Since most environmentalists are melons who merely use ecology as a pretext for their rank socialist beliefs, Lynas' newfound conviction that "capitalism" is necessary will go over like a fart in leftist church, no matter how true it is.
    He is one of those formerly lefty types, much like David Mamet, who through reading converts to being a righty and is then ignored by his former comrades.

  • Tony||

    Some unsolicited advice: if you want to be a credible voice in this policy discussion, it might help to accept facts and science first.

    All you're doing is whining about being excluded by those mean socialists. It's not lefties' fault that free market advocates have a bizarre tendency to reject the basic requirements for any discussion (accepting facts and science).

  • cynical||

    lol, +1, excellent satire.

  • Old Mexican||

    Agreed! Great satire!

    It simply sounded too stupid to be coming from the real guy! Or at least, I hope it didn't.

  • ||

    And you're saying this in a thread authored by a free market commenter who believes in AGW.

    How's that for irony?

  • Brett L||

    I thought Ron believed in GW and thought the A was plausible but unproven, no?

  • Tony||

    It's yet another reason post in which I have more in common with the author than most of the native commenters. It happens.

  • sevo||

    "I have more in common with the author than most of the native commenters."
    Bullshit.

  • ||

    Are you TRYING to piss Bailey off? LOL

  • yonemoto||

    slow down there. I'm an environmentalist and a libertarian. That is to say, I will only advocate solutions that are market-based, or property-rights-based. Feel like protecting some species? Right on. Now reach into your pocket and buy the tract of land that you'll need to do that.

  • Terry Michael||

    Ruling out either nuclear power or GMO's makes no since. But rushing to embrace them, and seeing them as panaceas is just as silly. We'll probably have all the nano-engineered energy we need, for pennies, within a couple of decades, so why rush to build more nuclear reactors. And we have barely skimmed the surface of genetic engineering. Messing with the DNA of fauna or flora before we can determine the possible pitfalls is reckless.

  • Terry Michael||

    I, of course, meant "sense", not "since" in the first sentence. I stand accused of my fingers rushing ahead of my brain.

  • NotSure||

    To get from here to there, one needs energy and capital. If a country like China had to suddenly stop building its nuclear power plants and wait for nano engineered energy, they would first have to suffer decades needlessly and when the energy solution eventually arrives, they would lack sufficient capital needed to fund the future solutions.

  • Trespassers W||

    mounting night-time raids against test sites

    Has he made restitution for any damage he caused?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Caption Contest:

    "Sea People + Sea Men = SeaCiety"

  • rather||

    Why we need it, whether or not we like it
    http://rctlfy.wordpress.com/20.....say-sorry/

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "If the market were as magical as you think it is, to the extent of solving all our energy and pollution problems all by itself, then it would have found out a way to get us off oil and coal long ago."

    Like what happened in residential fuel?

  • Brett L||

    You don't use whale oil to light your house?

  • Gray Ghost||

    Seems like the most appropriate thread to drop this AGW research tidbit: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2.....c_ray_gag/

    Cliff Notes: CERN Director-General directly informs scientists at CERN not to publicly draw conclusions from synchrotron radiation cloud nucleation experiment; inference is that the experimental data may lead to the idea that the Earth's climate is much more dependent on solar radiative output than anything humanity emits or chooses to control emitting.

  • ||

    AAAAAAA!!!!!! It has the word radiation in it! bRun for your lives!!!!!!bbb111!!!

  • ||

    You can say opposition to nuclear is evidence of a nonscientific bias among greens, but they were coming around at least up until we had multiple disasters at nuclear plants.

    Yes. These disasters in which not a single person has been killed and in which the biggest economic impact is due to an surfeit of caution on the part of the Japaense government.

    Much like Chernobyl, the fear of radiation will cause more damage than the actual radiation itself.

  • Brett L||

    So how many miners died in that coal mine collapse in WVa a couple years ago? And weren't there some fatalities in that crazy Chilean drama where they were trapped for a month? People died when the BP well blew in the Gulf. So it seems that radiation is less dangerous than fossil fuels (which were far safer than whaling).

  • ||

    It's less dangerous than hydro and wind on a deaths per kilowatt hour measure.

  • ||

  • coniefoxdresses||

    Now is the era of a lack of resources, environmental protection is everyone needs to do

  • Anticitizen EU||

    Here is just an example from my country (Slovenia) of policy driven by this "green" ideology.

    Recently, some company opened a solar power plant, partly financed by the government. The cost of it was 1.5 million € and it will produce (in their words) around 505 MWh per year. In the EU, the market price of energy is 45 € (http://www.energy.eu/). So it will take more than 60 years for this project to pay for itself (the lifetime of solar cells is 20-30 years). Of course some bureaucrat decided that we must reach some renewable energy quota and the state is buying this energy for 400 € per MWh. This is the reality of green energy and green jobs. They disappear when they run out of government money, but don't tell this to Obama, he might like this idea.

  • ||

    You guys should try bringing this sort of shit up with Brits. On my most recent trip, I got a complete first-hand demonstration of just how retarded the inhabitants of highly socialistic societies are, to the point where many support prohibitions on oil, for example.

  • Showme||

    It's for teh children!!

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/index.html

    what a crock

  • Sven||

    I want gas to be 20c a gallon. Cause that's what it's worth and what it would cost of it wasn't for the energy hysteria driving up prices and all the bullshit taxes on it. Let's use that shit and drive progress and prosperity. Once we're done with oil (in a few hundred years), we'll switch to geothermal energy and will keep going for another few thousand years. By then we'll hopefully have perfected nuclear fusion. To all you environmentalism haters of humanity: Fuck you, we will defeat you.

  • Edwin||

    environmentalism will go away when the current generation ages and sees absolutely nothing happen in terms of ocean levels

    actually it'll probably go away more than even I'd like - there are some important versions of environemtalism or concerns that it raises (or howveer you'd say it) that will always be important

    they're fucking over their own movement

  • Edwin||

    Hey Tony

    know how we could stop a lot of greenhouse gas emissions? Change zoning laws to actually allow more density and mixed use. Ban unions from public transportation agencies so they could sva emoney and lower ticket prices. And heck, here's a crazy thought, allow some private companies to compete to open up new rail lines/bus lines in a world where state and local governments are cash-strapped. We've got like a bajillions rail lines here in NJ and all these plans to eventually use them, why the hell not some private carriers deliver some service?

    It'd lower greenhouse gas emissions and you know it.

  • Tony||

    What makes you think I'm opposed to any of that? (Except banning unions--I'm too libertarian for such things.)

  • juris imprudent||

    Cesar must be back.

  • sevo||

    "What makes you think I'm opposed to any of that?"

    Everything you've posted here, except when you're obviously ducking-and-weaving in the hopes of adding more BS.

  • ||

    “Although none of the major environmental groups will admit it, the first generation of GE crops has almost certainly been beneficial both to the environment and to farmers industrial farms.”

    Fixed.

  • yonemoto||

    the second generation will be better, I promise. Open-source GM crops.

  • Edwin||

    you think companies will invest miliions to biullions of dollars, and spend 10 years getting FDA approval, for no return?

    anti-IP people always seem to just glaze over this problem

  • ||

    jcalton: With respect, you simply don't know what you're talking about. From the 2010 ISAAA report on global biotech plantings:

    In 2010, the 15th year of commercialization, a record 15.4 million farmers grew biotech crops – notably, over 90% or 14.4 million were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries; estimates of number of beneficiary farmers are conservative due to a spill-over of indirect benefits to neighboring farmers cultivating conventional crops.

  • sevo||

    So does this leave the EU as the only luddite?

  • ||

    "It'd lower greenhouse gas emissions and you know it."

    Tony does not just want to lower emissions it must also "be good for human existence" also. and since your new service might not pass the last part of his "test" than it may not "be any good".....

    .....Or maybe it would be to libertarian for him since the "chosen one's" are running the program

  • Kc||

    For the most part I really enjoyed the article. I love to see individuals de-polarizing their views, and realize that maybe they aren't correct. I must ask though, is the statement "Humanity is now in charge of the earth," from you or the book? This is so far away from any sort of scientific reality that I had to ask. When BOTH environmentalists AND free-marketers realize they are a part of this world, maybe we can move forward. Environmentalists think we have to save it, and free-marketers think they have to manage it (through GOVERNING bodies called companies, but yeah its not THE Government so its okay). The main solutions proposed by one probably would lead to our extinction and the main solutions proposed by the other says money will find a way. Granted, most reasonable environmentalists aren't being represented (aka being allowed to freely represent themselves) and I feel most caring free marketers are also being polarized by their own communities (aka having to accept that an ECONOMIC free market is the only thing to put energy into). Best case scenario you are a god. Even in that reality, you are simply A god. One of many.

  • Kc||

    I should re-phrase. What scientific evidence is there to show that "Humanity is now in charge of the earth?" We occupy, can only possibly occupy, a tiny, tiny fraction of our Earth. Most science agrees that the Earth has gone through many changes in its history that we could not have even fathomed to have survived, then or even now (I do not believe that this current climate change is one of them, if its happening at all, but this is just my opinion). Religion generally agrees God (or whomever the title) has done some impressive things to this planet and its inhabitants (ex. create us). Either way, from what I have understood by my short time on this planet is that we do not control it. If there is something out there..no matter how far out there that counters these mass held viewpoints, I would love to learn. Also, an opinion I've recently indulged is that had a true libertarian ideology been used say a few hundred yrs ago, then the market would have found that money actually limits choices and therefore would have been done away with itself. I do have a limited understanding of the word libertarian, so I am very interested in hearing a response.

  • nike running shoes||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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