Friday, June 24, 2005

Informed Thinking on Energy by our President

Here's George W. Bush in Washington DC on June 8:

"We're spending money on clean coal technology. Do you realize we've got 250 million years of coal?"

Two hundred and fifty million years of coal? Wasn't this guy in the oil business? The U.S. Department of Energy reckons we have domestic reserves if coal equivalent to 285 years at the rate of consumption in the U.S. in 2001. The plant matter that later became coal was laid down during the Carboniferous era, between 280 million and 340 million years ago. This era was after the Devonian and before the Permian. You think that Mr. Bush, who spend many of his formative adult years in dreary Midland/Odessa, Texas, which is located in the Permian Basin and has the famous Odessa Permian Panthers football team, would appreciate the timescale.

It's nuts that we have done virtually nothing to reduce energy dependence on foreign princes and potentates in the years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Perhaps factual errors of six orders of magnitude in understanding our energy situation feed into this decision process.

On the other hand, my next-door-cube neighbour was out looking at cars last night after her newly-licensed 16-year-old daughter totalled the family Camry into a lightpole in the driveway at work (fired off both airbags!). They test-drove a Prius which they thought was pretty cool, but the wait is now 8-10 months. People are making some of their own decisions in regards to energy even though the administration has asked nothing of us in this war except to accept tax cuts and shop more.

Drivers like this daughter frighten me. They've got a license, scored well on the drivers exam and within six weeks have totalled a car. I don't know that it's clear what she was doing that she couldn't make it out of the parking lot without crashing the Camry, but it probably was something to do with the radio, a CD or a cellphone (this is my speculation). (I could really annoy my cube-neighbour and say it was probably the crack stash and birth control). You just hope like hell that some goofball 16-year-old full of misplaced confidence and different muscial tastes than Mom doesn't one day inadvertently mow you down. I'd hate to get killed because someone wanted to listen to Green Day.

You sure get fast claims service when you total the car in your insurance company parking lot! I suggested that we send her a Crash Test Dummy t-shirt in a company envelope and a letter thanking her for the increased premiums we'll be getting, but my cube-mate thought the situation at home was perhaps a little tense for this yet.

While looking for appropriate Crash Test garments, I came across this one on eBay. I might even buy one of these, I don't have a modern plastic cycling jersey yet:

eBay link

A couple of yellow/black circle stickers on the helmet and I'd be all set!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure, you can joke about this now. Your kids are under the age of driving permits. Just you wait - your time will come! Someday, Matt, someday...