Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Far Left and Cars 2

The far left just doesn't seem to get it. I found out yesterday that in Pixar's "Cars 2," the director decided to make "big oil" the enemy. Kevin Glass at Townhall made some great points, but there's more to explore.

First, the director shouldn't advocate for alternative energy when he doesn't know what he's talking about. "Why isn’t alternative fuel more… Why isn’t everybody jumping on that bandwagon? It makes so much sense: Electricity, solar, whatever. There’s ethanol," he explained.

Really? Ethanol? Okay, let's start there. What we make in the U.S., and what lefties are pushing is biomass ethanol. We've known ethanol made this way is a terrible idea from an energy standpoint for many years. Worse yet, by making it from food crops, we're contributing to world hunger and high food prices, so we're starving people in poor countries by burning food for fuel. That's right, under-informed director John Lasseter ignorantly advocates killing poor people in Cars 2.

"Electricity" isn't an alternative fuel, by the way. Electric cars will be great for commuting as technology makes them increasingly viable in the free market, but where we get that electricity matters. When you run the numbers, we can't generate enough power using alternative sources. Cecil Adams works through the numbers on several alternative power generation methods here. They aren't enough to meet our needs. Lasseter suggest solar power. Great idea! Depending on whose figures you review, powering the U.S. using solar would only require paneling over several states, but you couldn't do that because environmentalists block new solar projects.

This is why I'm a proponent of nuclear energy, and now that I know about them, liquid fluoride thorium reactors. Yes, the environmentalists will still squeal about it. We have to ignore them and build the reactors before the need becomes crippling.

Moving to the entertainment aspect of this movie, it strikes me that Lasseter has taken a very poor approach. When you produce a cartoon, broad appeal is a must. Lasseter has chosen to immediately alienate more than half his potential audience with his message. When you're making a movie filled with characters based on NASCAR racing, you'll probably want to make sure you create a story such an audience will find fun and inoffensive. As the far left generally portrays them, NASCAR fans aren't exactly anti big oil people. They aren't liberals at all. It would seem Lasseter isn't just ignorant about the realities of energy alternatives, but also not very informed about marketing. The result is a movie my family won't just skip in the theater, we won't buy it or rent it, either.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ATMs and Kiosks are not the problem

From time to time, President Obama produces real gems of idiocy dredged up from the talking points of the labor unions. Last week's example is so egregious, it's hard to believe.
“There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."
This is like blaming the cotton gin and the telegraph for the Great Depression. The advances came well before the economic trouble. Field workers and Pony Express riders did absolutely lose their jobs, and they went on to do other things, as have most farriers, ice delivery men and switchboard operators.

By President Obama's (lack of) reasoning, we should help the economy by ripping robotic elements from production lines. Humans can go back to doing those repetitive, dangerous tasks for low wages. At least they'll be employed.

He should also throw away the Blackberry he so famously clung to at the start of his presidency in favor of human messengers.

Why do Unions (and by extension, President Obama) oppose automation? Because large numbers of union workers are normally displaced by automation. This hurts union revenue, since fewer people are paying dues. The workers ultimately will retrain and find better jobs that don't involve as much risk and mind-numbing repetition, so their lives improve even as the economy becomes more efficient. That doesn't help a labor union, though, so they've created President Obama's anti-progress argument to try to convince people that what hurts the union is bad, even if it is actually helpful to the economy and the worker.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors

Since I'm always interested in energy solutions, I was fascinated when Jay posted this. I thought I'd share.

More at Energy From Thorium.

A shorter description of the advantages here.