Monday, August 03, 2009

Ghastly Disaster Mistake Error From Distant Past

Shanghai and New York City


From the Skyscraper Museum web site:

"Shanghai's population of 10 million in its central core compares to 8.25 million people in New York City's five boroughs. The average density of New York is 10,452 people per km2 (27,303 per sq. mi.) while greater Shanghai is 5,314 people per km2 (13,760 per sq. mi.). Shanghai is more dense than New York in its core, but half as dense overall."

Nice One, Mr. Rich

The late William F. Buckley Jr. and an aardvark, recently.

Frank Rich, in the Sunday New York Times, discussing the beer summit at the White House:

"Who does Henry Louis Gates Jr. think he is, William F. Buckley Jr.?"

Update: but Buckley, of course, once said: "I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."

And that is good news for the Aardvark family, Mr. and Mrs. Aaibrahimis and -- of course! -- the Aacrodelles.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

What price gassing while Rome burns?

Republicans, as usual eager to display just what crap, sorry excuses for sentient human beings they are, are attacking Obama's attempts to reform health care as a massive invasion by the government into people's personal health issues. Bless their little hard-as-nails hearts! Right now, if you're uninsured and get sick, at least you've got the freedom to expire on your own terms!

But while they keep droning on about how government-assisted health care is fascisto-communisto-socialism, one wonders what the Republican Party might do in the future, if, as is predicted with confidence by experts, oil starts to run out. What price freedom if civil society starts to unravel? Just how much control will any future government have to exercise over our lives if one of the fundamentals on which we depend is no longer available?

Chris Steiner's new book argues that a hypothetical $20 per gallon of gasoline would be the spur for a new era of alternative energy innovation. It also contains this reminder of how much of the physical world we inhabit and enjoy, exists because of oil and its byproducts.

The price of oil — and thus, gasoline — affects our lives to a degree few realize. It's not just the BP or Shell portion of your Visa bill. It's the bricks in your walls, the plastic in your refrigerator, the asphalt on your roads, the shingles on your roof, the synthetic rubber in your ball. With every penny that gasoline moves up, so, too, does the price of most things we consume. Stop what you're doing. Look around. Look on your desk, at your shoes, at your shirt, at your windows, your kitchen — how much of it comes from oil? More than you think. Look out your window — look out at the world—how much of it owes its existence to oil? Again, more than you think. The United States imports 67% of its oil, but only 40% of that goes into our vehicles' fuel tanks. The rest is used to make, fortify, and shape just about anything you can imagine.
And if oil is removed from the picture, then I think governments of any political stripe will be forced to regulate just about anything you can imagine.