If you’ve been wondering about this administration’s priorities (you probably haven’t, but go with the flow), take a look at this chart comparing spending on the war with spending on alternative energy research. That thing isn’t going to scale tidily to fit on a powerpoint slide, I’m afraid.
Peter Ashby says
Somehow I found the food pyramids below it more depressing.
E in MD says
If we had invested 1/100th of what we’ll be spending in Iraq and Afghanistan towards developing new, sustainable, renewable energy resources, energy storage and transport methods we wouldn’t have had to invade Iraq in the first place.
and we’ve known about the energy crisis since at least the 70’s when we were lining up around the block to get gas so there’s no excuse.
The ridiculous thing is we have completely free, renewable energy sources literally all around us and yet people are making so much money from oil that they won’t allows us to stop.
E in MD, no one is stopping you from walking / riding a bike / taking the bus to work.
Jeez, haven’t they ever heard of using a Log scale? :)
Ben, What exactly does your comment have to do with what E in MD wrote?
Onkel Bob says
The next question to ask yourself is how much of the defense budget is going to “supporting the troops” and how much is going to supporting the military industrial complex.
Oh and whoever passed on the tip about grease monkey on FireFox, thank you! Although I’ve used FireFox since 1.0 I only used minimal add-ons. Being able to ignore trolls like Kim and Ben is just the cat’s meow.
Denis Loubet says
Walking to work? Naw, twenty miles through scrub by the side of the highway is a bit much for these old bones.
Biking to work? Sharing the highway with SUVs and Semi trailers is not a recipe for a long life.
Take the bus? First I have to drive the car to where I can take the bus, but by then I’m already so close to work I might as well drive in.
The U.S. is not set up for such modes of travel. We threw our support behind cars and trucks, and now it’s impossible to change. It’s a chicken and egg kind of thing…
that energy graph makes me wanna puke- I hate the entire region not to mention the money we spend on it – i would personally stop funding for all things iraq if it were up to me- I would do it NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW- it really does elicit ANGER in me
Dennis @ #7: I hear you, but there are also plenty of places to live where you can walk to work and to the grocery, and take a bus to shopping centers occasionally. (Schenectady, NY and Mount Vernon, OH are two). It depends on how high that is on your list of priorities. I have had to rent a car on company trips, but I’ve never owned one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say.
Peter Ashby says
Denis Loubert, move here to Scotland then. When they turned the Dundee to Arbroath road into a dual carriageway (two lanes in either direction) they put in a walking/cycle path all along it, in parts utilising the old bits of road that got left during the ‘taking out the curves’ part of it. They also put such paths on some of the side roads so I can run along the beach then climb the hill and come back alongside the road in perfect safety.
There’s an organisation here called sustrans (http://www.sustrans.org.uk/) that coordinates, activates for and distributes information about cycle routes nationwide. You need something like that over the pond. You can cycle for eg between Perth and Inverness without having to deal with the A9. I have a cousin who cycles up it to see his folks.
You have to want it enough to agitate it and pay for it, whether that be through donations or higher taxes. We may more tax here but we arguably get more for it. I just hope my sore foot from the running is better by Sunday when I was hoping of doing 14.5miles as above, and that is barely scratching the possibilites.
Why don’t we get JR over here to build us a rail system like the one that they have? I liked the trains there (crouded as they were), and they can definitely do a good job of making public transit go where people need to be.
The Reality Based Dave says
The feds spent 12million prosecuting Tommy Chong. He spent 6 months in jail after the feds threatened to put his kids away for making glass bongs.
The republican congress authorized 3million to spend to investigate the cause & aftermath of 9/11.
that is a frakking fantastic graph
Last Thanksgiving, my family and I took the Amtrak Starlight from Sacramento to Seattle. It was supposed to leave Sac at midnight, and arrive in Seattle at 7 p.m. the next day.
Except it left two hours late and arrived in Seattle about 4 hours late.
In spite of that, it was actually a fun trip, but on the way back, I was thinking that Amtrak needs to outsource the entire operation to Japanese National Rail. Just tell them to propose a new system, with new tracks if necessary, for a system that would connect the major towns from San Diego to Vancouver, BC, and all the big ones in-between.
Just write ’em a check and tell ’em to go for it.
They know how to run a railroad better than we do. Period.
When we see how they do it, then use that as a model and start extending the system eastward.
I was encouraged by the cellulosic report on All Things Considered a few weeks ago. But even at that, the typical American does not appreciate how much energy there is in a gallon of gasoline, or how much organic material goes into a gallon of ethanol. It’s a good idea, but people have this idea that 2 pounds of banana peels will run their car for a month.
Peter Ashby says
MIke M, the way the Japanese do it is via large public subsidy. The public subsidy is coming off rail here in the UK and we now have the highest ticket prices in the world apparently. The Japanese have some of the lowest, on the bullet trains no less. Those trains cost more than the ones here. How to reconcile this? Public subsidy of a public good. You can have as much good administration as you want, but without the money, what can they do?
A US rail company bought NZ rail during a conservative govt privatisation scheme, they promised all sorts of improvements. What happened was that passenger services got downgraded and scrapped (not enough profit in them). So recently the NZ govt bought them out. So you perhaps do need a new sort of admin. One that is interested in customer need, not just the bottom line.
Peter ashby- and unless Private eye is lying through its teeth, the rail operators are still getting massively subsidised. Oddly enough, the subsidies seem very similar to the profit they declare each year.
Greta Christina says
Yes, yes, alternative energy is all very well and good. But we’re missing the big picture people. How is it going to make George W. Bush’s friends in the oil business even more disgustingly rich?
Priorities, people! Priorities!
Greta Christina says
#7: “We threw our support behind cars and trucks, and now it’s impossible to change. It’s a chicken and egg kind of thing…”
Not impossible, Dennis. Just difficult, and requiring both foresight and sacrifice.
Oh, shit. My native optimism is beginning to falter. Requiring both foresight and sacrifice? We’re doomed.
Shawn Wilkinson says
I wonder how high the elevator lift will have to be for Al Gore to show this at his next presentation?
I think we’d better sic Nigersaurus on that thing.