American Elephants


So Take That, You Interfering Food Police! by The Elephant's Child
July 6, 2009, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, News of the Weird | Tags: , ,

For years, the Food Police have been trying desperately to find something wrong with coffee. If coffee gives many people pleasure, if they gather with friends to have a cup, if they open chain stores all over the world giving people a place to gather over coffee, and if they invent all sorts of special accouterments to help make a better cup, then there has to be something really, really wrong with it.

We’ve had the poor abused workers in coffee plantations, but it has turned out that they are better paid than their peers, and the coffee companies have even built schools for their children.  They tackled the milk used in lattés for the growth hormone given to cows, but that turned out to be junk science, for it is a scientific impossibility for the hormone to pass through into the milk.  They have tried to connect coffee to all sorts of diseases and unpleasant conditions and now, perhaps, they may be undone.

“Drinking five cups of coffee a day may reverse the memory problems seen in Alzheimers” reads the headline from the BBC.  The research carried out in Florida on mice also suggested that caffeine hampered the production of protein plaques that are characteristic of the disease.

This is all preliminary, of course, but it’s nice to know that you can head out for a latté with a clear conscience.

(h/t Dan @ GayPatriot)



Why Do They Want Us To Spend Trillions on a Non-Existent Problem? by The Elephant's Child
July 6, 2009, 7:58 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy | Tags: , ,

Sources_of_electricity_in_the_USA_2006

Do you have storms in your area that damage power lines and cause a widespread loss of power?  Then you are familiar with trying to stay warm, cooking on the barbecue, using candles for light, or perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who has a generator.  Nevertheless, you appreciate your electricity.  But do you know where it comes from?

Surprisingly, no one in congress or the administration does.  At least they must not, for their math simply does not add up.  If you cannot read this lovely pie chart, 48.9 % of our electricity comes from coal, 20% from natural gas, 19.3 % comes from nuclear, 7.1 % from hydroelectric plants, 1.6 % from petroleum and the little pinky-peach wedge represents wind, solar and geothermal.

The Waxman-Markey climate bill will punitively tax the energy sources that contribute 90 percent of our current American electricity in order to bet our future on the wedge that is able to produce only 2.4 percent of our electricity.  But we can do it. The conventional phrase is “if we can send a man to the moon we can…..

We have eleven whole years in which to build, install, and connect to the grid at least 180,000 turbines.  Each one of which requires a backup of conventional energy for the times when the wind does not blow, which is often.

And as for solar, not only is it far more expensive, suitable only in the Southwest, but perhaps you have noticed that the sun sinks beneath the horizon  at night, just when we need lighting.

This energy policy is built on a lie, or more accurately a whole bunch of lies.  The whole thing is conceived of as a way to stop the globe from warming, but it stopped warming in 2002.

It’s necessary to remove the CO2 that is causing global warming isn’t it?  CO2 is not the cause of global warming or climate change.  Reducing it is unnecessary and will cost trillions.

There are not, as yet, any large-scale, practical and cost-competitive replacements for fossil fuels.  If you punish fossil fuel use with either taxes or by capping how much energy is allowed to be used, you punish the economy.

When a country institutes cap-and-trade legislation unilaterally, it makes that country less competitive in the global economy.  Imports and trade deficits increase as prices at home rise, while companies or whole industries close and move abroad to countries where they can be more competitive.

And it is the citizen, the consumer, who pays for all of this, either in the form of higher prices or less availability, or less economic growth.  This shouldn’t be rocket science, but consequences are not of much interest to Democrats.  It’s still worth trying to figure out what the consequences will be.



American Innovation Once Again Rides to the Rescue! by The Elephant's Child

All is not, after all, lost!  Government mandates spur innovation. “Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge” says the headline in the New York Times. When Congress passed a (silly) law setting tough efficiency standards that no traditional incandescent bulb could meet, it looked like our standard light bulbs were doomed.

It seemed that our light bulbs were to be imported from China, as another two American industries were destroyed — the incandescent bulb industry and their suppliers, and the lighting fixture industry and their suppliers.

Researchers across the country have been racing to breathe new life into Thomas Edison’s light bulb, a pursuit that accelerated with the new legislation. Amid that footrace, one company is already marketing limited quantities of incandescent bulbs that meet the 2012 standard, and researchers are promising a wave of innovative products in the next few years.

Indeed, the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation.

“There’s a massive misperception that incandescents are going away quickly,” said Chris Calwell, a researcher with Ecos Consulting who studies the bulb market. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades.”

The first of the new bulbs are 30 percent more efficient than older incandescents, but they are also more expensive at $5 each and more. Phillips says that a 70 watt bulb gives off the same amount of light as a 100 watt bulb and lasts about three times as long.

We have ranted extensively about this government mandate, which we resent.  We don’t think the government has any business messing about with our light bulbs, and have searched for the line in the Constitution that says they do.  See here, here, and here.

The whole bit about “saving energy” is misplaced.  We are energy independent when it comes to electricity, and could easily be more so.  The usual rationale is “getting off of foreign oil.” But at present, and for the foreseeable future, oil powers our transportation, not our lights.  But that kind of good sense seldom engenders government mandates.




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