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 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 43
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...Page 2 of 33    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33)
thorb


actually this off the cuff personal opinion with no base in fact...
it is just your personal opinion ... not a fact.

There is no "fact"ual way to determine value. Value is entirely subjective and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

My claim is based on the personal choices and value-systems of billions of consumers world-wide, not my own opinion.

Sure you can believe that your value system is more legitimate than theirs. But how does that make it more "right"?
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 45
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/7/2010 11:08:24 PM
Krebby


your claim that the oil industry is 99 percent safe

First of all, I never made this claim.


And secondly, you've completely distorted my definition of "safe" in my original context. I didn't say offshore drilling, much less the oil industry was 99% costless, which it sounds like you are arguing I've claimed.

This thread is about oil gushing into the ocean. I claimed that offshore drilling is over 99% "safe", as defined by any meaningful way to determine it's ability to extract oil from the ocean floor without doing precisely what this thread is about.

You seemed to have gotten the idea at first by citing numbers of oil spills. But once I refuted that logic, you redefined my meaning to include costs and came back with this bullshit about what I never claimed at all.

What you are doing is imposing your own ideas of what I meant and then attacking them. That is by definition a straw man argument.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 47
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/7/2010 11:32:03 PM
Was Obama even a political candidate 20 years ago?
 .dej
Joined: 11/6/2007
Msg: 50
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/8/2010 5:33:08 AM
Alllllright. Now I'm no Obama fan, but it's a little shady to blame Obama for not stocking up on a product offered to the federal government in 1994. Come on...

You can't take office and immediately be up-to-date on everything every president hasn't done since the Civil War.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 52
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/8/2010 7:59:45 AM
I don't need to talk to them. That's the point.

They buy petroleum products. If they stopped tomorrow...tomorrow....Exxon, BP, Shell, all of them would be out of business. It'd only be a matter of time before their cash reserves would dry up. They'd chew through whatever bailout money the varying governments would inevitably give them. And that would be it. Their stockholders would have to liquidate the company's capital.

That's obviously not going to happen, though. People value oil. Not because I say so, but because of their actions. They use the stuff and pay for it.

These companies aren't rich and powerful because they're selling a product no one values. It's for precisely the opposite reason. We realize tremendous value out of our use of oil. Do they exploit that power for political gain? Inevitably. There's no doubt about it, unfortunately. That's the sad nature of politicians and the reputation of government (and why we should want to keep it limited). But that doesn't mean, ultimately, that these companies' "power" doesn't derive from the people and their voluntary choices to buy their product. Because that's exactly where it comes from.

You're probably one of those people.

If you really think oil costs more than the value you get out of it then stop. using. petroleum. products.

It's that simple. You don't have to buy them. You can stop giving them oil companies your business immediately. If your value system really suggests oil is more costly than the value you get out of it, then you will stop using oil-based products.

Until you do that, your actions contradict any claim you make about oil being more costly than its value. And until the world does, their actions contradict what you claim about their value systems.

Sure, you can say that oil costs more than the value you get out of it. I'm not saying you can't make that claim. I'm just saying that if you do make it, yet continue to use oil-based products, then you sound no different than the obese man who says he's on a diet and wants to lose weight, but eats a box of Twinkies every day for lunch.

Says something about the claim he makes, don'tcha think?
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 54
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/8/2010 8:41:46 AM
I find it peculiar that on the one hand you say I'm making up "total bs" when I say that people's value systems see more value out of oil than its costs, but on the other hand you think it's perfectly fine to say that people are addicted to the stuff.

Seems you are being disingenuous in how you apply the concept of burden of proof.

But anyways, I'm not sure how you define behavioral addiction. But scientifically, the word is not to be taken lightly. It requires a physiological dependence on the activity. One that literally alters brain chemistry.

I mean, you can think that. And who knows, it may indeed apply to you. But until you produce some evidence that the people of the world are addicted to buying oil, I will say what you've said towards me. BS.

It's only fair, right?


I, personally, do not think I'm addicted to oil. I consciously purchase gasoline every time I fill up or use plastic products.

And if a better alternative were made available tomorrow, I would have no trouble whatsoever switching over. I'd rejoice in fact.

And I think others would too.

That's no sign of addiction at all.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 59
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/8/2010 2:11:31 PM
Krebby


Absolutely, you did NOT say it was 99% COSTLESS, you DID say it was 99% SAFE. That's a classic example of a smokescreen statement. Stick to the statements made.

I did not hide what I meant at all. I explained thoroughly what I meant by my use of the word "safe" in the context I used the term in.

See, what you're doing here is acting as though words have objective definitions and that you are the one to prescribe them. There is nothing inherit about language. Definitions are determined based on the context in which they're used.

I said that offshore drilling is over 99% safe as determined by any meaningful way to determine its ability to drill oil out of the ocean floor without spilling it into the ocean. And you come in and say, "No, the use of oil imposes ecological costs, you can't say it's 99% safe"

No, sh*t. I never denied that. That's not what I fu*king meant.

See, if we agree that the point of me writing a post is to communicate a message, and I tell you, explicitly, what I mean by a given word, that's what I fu*king mean. Don't come in here and say "No, not your meaning of your words, MY meaning of your words is what you were trying to communicate."

This is ridiculous. What you're trying to do is to have a monopoly on the context of language.

I can see the misunderstanding. The failure to communicate. I can see your interpretation of my use of the word "safe". But I am telling, explicitly, that your definition is not what I meant.

Get over it. This is a stupid semantical argument. You are defining my use of a word for me and attacking it. It's a waste of time.







Tylenol just took a gob of medicine off the shelf because it was tainted. By your logic, we should allow it to remain on the shelf because, well, it's only made a few people sick

This is what it all comes down to.

I don't know whether Tylenol should take down any given medication or not. I don't know whether or not Tylenol will cause more harm by taking off the shelves what might be a highly beneficial medication for most people but somewhat risky drug for others. If it turns out this drug saves 500 peoples' lives every year for preventing heart attacks, but kills 20 people for whatever reason, who are you to say it should be taken off the shelves?

There are costs and benefits to any decision along these lines.

My whole point - if you payed any attention to my fist post - is that a government's job should be to enforce costs on companies when the market is not capable of doing so. In the case for Tylenol, if someone is harmed by the product, the government should make it as easy as possible for them to be compensated for the costs in a court of law. That way it will pay a company to take off the shelves any drug that does more harm than good, as we the people define it. In the case of BP, the government should impose all the costs of the spill on the BP shareholders. As such, those costs will be seen by BP and the other companies in the industry, and they will adjust accordingly.

It could very well be that the benefits of drilling offshore in deep locations are too small relative to the risks of the enormous costs of an accident. If that's the case, then as long as our government is doing the job it should be doing - enforcing externalized costs - then these companies will not drill in those areas.****

And that could very well signal the start of peak oil.

The thing is, I don't know if BP, Exxon, or these other companies are able to extract oil from these other areas in ways that people deem to be valuable or not. The people should decide.

If you say "No! We will shut down all offshore drills" then you will literally create mass poverty and kill thousands if not millions of people all over the planet. Are those not costs? Is value not being lost here? Are these costs worse than some additional ecological damage?

WHO KNOWS.

Value is completely subjective. The problem is, you are trying to impose your value system on the world. You think that an enormous increase in poverty and starvation are worth the costs of saving some ecology. That we'll be better off shutting offshore drills than we will be by using them.

It's an arrogance that pierces far deeper than what you attribute to me. I say let the people decide. If they want to use oil for now so they can afford to drive to work, so they can afford to keep themselves warm, so they can feed their starving children, let them. The government's job should be to enforce any pollution or other external costs these companies impose on us. That way the costs of the industry will be reflected in the price and the market will determine the relative values of all people with regard to where we can gain value, collectively, by using oil, and where we will be destroying value by using oil.

To the extent we can do that, we will accurately price oil for its costs and we will create an atmosphere that will allow a viable alternative to oil to be chosen by the people when it is valuable to do so.

You need to stop pretending that there are no benefits to using oil and that humans are somehow angels in this world. That when a seagull dies in a tragic oil accident, that it is somehow worse than when a chicken dies so you can eat a McChicken sandwich and we need to stop using oil.

Is it worse or better? I don't know. And you don't know either. Our value systems are not "right". They are only two of billions in the world.

The use of force, government, should only be used to protect rights. When my value system infringes on your rights, the government should be involved. When an oil company spills oil into the ocean, it's imposing a cost on the rest of us for which we are not being compensated. Government should make it pay for what we believe the costs to be. That way those costs will be reflected in the price of oil and will be paid for by those who use oil.

Likewise, when you use gasoline to drive your car, you release a small bit of pollution into the air. That's a cost on the rest of us. That's why I support taxes on oil and other polluting fossil fuels. I would like to see higher taxes on them, as a matter of fact. I would support Cap and Trade had our government not been creating so much poverty with the enormous taxes and spending it is already doing.

I want the market to accurately reflect the costs of goods.

You don't want that. You want command and control. You want to enforce costs on the human population, acting as though you know how to deliver the most value to the most people.

You don't. No one does. This is the fatal conceit of man. You know what you want. And it is no more or less legitimate than anyone else's wants, provided that yours and theirs do not restrict their rights.

If you enforce a change, and you wind up being wrong. If you say "This child died because this medication was tainted!" and pull the drug off the shelves, how do you know you are making the right decision? You could be restricting a lifeSAVING drug from far more people.

There are costs and benefits to every decision. Let the people, though the process of the market, decide how these decisions are made.




****You're probably thinking, "Oh, but Ubi, you are so naive. There are these people called lobbyists! They distort the political atmosphere so that they don't have to pay costs or so they can drill where they want!"

I know that. And it fu*king sucks.

But what is the alternative? "Regulatory agencies"? I know you're not that naieve. If a politician can be bought, so too can a regulator.

And what's worse is regulators are rarely even in the spotlight! They don't have to worry about being elected.

Regulatory agencies operate by using the police to impose "regulations" that they write. And since we know that regulators can be bought, it's easy to see the evidence that's right before our eyes: These so-called consumer protection agencies have been historically shown to be captured by the industries are are intended to control. And that's worse a company "just" influencing a politician to not impose costs. Because now instead of "only" having a company impose additional costs for which it doesn't have to pay, we have a company that ALSO has the ability to influence the use of force, the police, to literally physically prevent its competitors from competing with it and allowing the actual choices of consumers to allocate resources to a more responsible company. Agencies always impose "regulations" that hurt small companies far more than the big interests. And that's worse because it give us consumers no ability to allocate our resources to an alternative! It literally enforces and ossifies the status quo!

There's a reason why our most regulated industries also show the highest concentration of wealth. And why they are so often the very industries that wind up abusing the consumer, the taxpayer, and the citizen. Its because "regulations" are the manifestation of fascism. The union of corporate power with state power.

And that's what we don't want. Because that leaves us powerless.

Consumers regulate a market far more efficiently than any bureaucracy can.
 wvwaterfall
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 63
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/8/2010 5:37:01 PM
Ub, you're taking a pretty thorough if well deserved beating here. I'm not normally one to pile on, but I will address your responses to my post, and before that take on your "99 percent safe" claim.

Let's try this analogy:

For whatever reason you decide to run across a firing range. While you're out there, 100 bullets are fired. Only one of them hits you in the head. Lucky for you, the entire experience is 99 percent safe!

Now, on to your replies to my post:


There are enormous incentives to efficiently use fuels. Greed is the primary one.

This isn't just theoretical either. We've already seen enormous improvement in the efficiency in our use of fossil fuel energy. Just consider coal-fueled power plants. They are far more efficient today than they were at any time in the past.

The same applies for any fuel-consuming industry I can think of.


What on earth are you basing this claim on?


I base my claim on the same greed you refer to. If energy is cheap, we use lots of it, and make other important life decisions based on the assumption of cheap energy we can continue to use lots of. We buy homes far from our jobs. We base vehicle purchase decisions on style, number of cupholders, color options, rather than fuel efficiency.

I've been a Prius owner for six and a half years and am active on a number of Prius discussion forums. When the price of gas goes up, demand for Prius does too. When the price goes down, so does that demand. I've had friends make thousands of dollars simply by speculating in Prius - selling theirs when demand was high, buying another of equal or better vintage when demand is low. So clearly consumers make fuel efficiency a priority when the price of gas is high, but not when it's low.

As for coal power plants, yes the newer ones are somewhat more efficient than those long past their intended retirement date. But those old plants are still in use because they're grandfathered in to more lax environmental requirements, so there's still plenty of coal being burned inefficiently. And should we go forward with construction of 'clean coal' plants, it will take up to 30 percent more coal to get the same amount of energy.

No problem, since as long as you ignore safety and environmental regulations coal is cheap and abundant. It only costs us dozens of miners lives every year, and since almost all of those miners worked at least 99 days before the day they were killed mining is 99 percent safe, right?


Most definitely. Peak oil will probably occur in my lifetime.

But the transition process will be relatively smooth from any one generation's perspective. It's false to think we're going to keep using oil to the last drop and then suddenly have find an alternative.

The only reason the switch wouldn't be smooth would be if we have and continue to make dramatically overestimations the world oil supply, if we have and continue to make dramatically underestimations of future oil demand, or if politicians get in the way and try to force a change prematurely or enforce legislation that will postpone the adoption of an alternative. The first two are highly unlikely considering the nature of market forces. The third is tbd.


At least you acknowledge the legitimacy of peak oil. There are those who do not.

As for how smooth the transition from oil will be, that will depend to a great extent on how efficiently we use what we have left and how gradually the price for that oil increases.

If we keep the price for oil artificially low, as we have been, we'll keep using too much of it, which increases the likelihood of rapid price spikes, making our transition anything but smooth.

Oil expert that you are, you're aware that global estimates of oil supplies have involved very creative math in recent decades, when math was even applied. There was a time when estimates were based on a midpoint between highest and lowest estimates, but then the switch was arbitrarily made to count only highest estimates. Meanwhile OPEC had a series of years where their estimates stayed the same despite continued drilling and large exports. Wish my savings account worked that way.


I'm not sure if you skipped over this part of my post, or what, but the idea that profits are made only by a relatively small number of people is one of the most misunderstood concepts in economics. The consumers of oil and those who consume the products and services that are benefited from the low cost energy that comes from oil (challenge you to think of one that isn't) are the ones who profit from oil the most. The employees and stockholders of the oil companies get a few billion dollars per year in exchange for the the trillions of dollars of value they add to the economy each year. This value is captured by billions of people. We benefit far more than they do. The profits are distributed to virtually everyone on the planet if you don't make the mistake of determining profits not on value, but only on money.


Apparently you skipped over my example of over feeding wildlife. What may appear to be 'profits' in the short term, can quickly turn into huge deficits in the long term.

So thanks to cheap oil we become greatly dependent on the fertilizers and herbicides and pesticides and large factory farms tended by huge combines while forgetting how to raise our own food, destroying the family farm (see next section), a pricing locally sustainably raised produce completely out of the market. Then our over consumption due to artificially low prices leads to a rapid price spike. Explain to me how the common person who has "profited" so much from all that cheap oil can now cash in those profits to feed their family?


Small, local business benefit ENORMOUSLY from cheap energy.

I don't know where you're getting this idea from.

You truly believe small business would benefit if energy cost more for them and their customers?


See my family farm example above. Talk to all the independent fishermen dependent on a healthy Gulf for their livelihood, to the tourism business owners just starting to recover from Katrina now sitting idle.

I'm not advocating for artificially high energy costs. I'm advocating for attaching the real value to the energy we do use, removing subsidies for established energy sources and factoring in health and safety costs. Did you know the province of Ontario decided to eschew all coal based electricity after they recognized that when you factored in health costs related to coal fired air pollution that coal was actually the MOST expensive of their energy options?



But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that we do have enough oil to wreak that kind of damage on this planet. That if we keep using oil as we are, we will destroy all living life on our world. Or at least human life.

Would we kill ourselves for it? Would we destroy our planet just to use oil?

Of course not. Greed wouldn't let us. It would literally be unprofitable to produce and use oil if it were imposing such high costs. Less costly alternatives would spout up long before things got anywhere close to that bad.. and our greed would lead us to use them because we as consumers and "they" as producers of the stuff would profit more from using the alternatives. Your scenario would require humans to behave irrationally and literally selfless. We're too selfish to kill ourselves that way.


...but let's not focus on that. Like I said earlier, I don't think there's enough accessible oil on this planet to do that kind of damage if we continue to use it as we have been. So any talk of apocalypse like that is just... irresponsible... and does nothing to help the conversation in my opinion : /


Apocalypse is unlikely, but not out of the question. What's irresponsible is to ignore the potential for it while continuing to greatly underestimate the environmental and health costs associated with oil and other fossil fuel use.

And remember that greed tends to be rather short sighted. It takes a catastrophe like the current Gulf spill to get our attention, with the huge all at once negative economic impact resulting from it for the greed factor to motivate long needed changes in our practices.

The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence supports the premise that our fossil fuel consumption is a leading cause of global warming, which if left unchecked could have devastating impacts, but not this week. By your reasoning our greed would motivate us to avert huge financial and other value based losses in the decades to come, but instead we continue to delay taking action to minimize the already assured negative impacts, because immediate greed prevents us from seeing the long term economic picture accurately.

Ask anyone working in the Gulf right now if oil is imposing high costs on them or not. Now explain to me how those same costs couldn't be incurred anywhere in the world where oil is extracted or transported.

Still ready to make the economic argument to defend the status quo?

Dave
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 65
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/10/2010 2:31:11 AM
The domestication of the horse changed human existance by providing 10,000 years of efficient transportation. When steam power and the internal combustion engine came along we quickly abandoned the horse. Nobody waited for the horse breeders to invest in automobiles.

We should have had alternative, renewable energy sources developed decades ago. However, the oil companies have blocked and fought every effort to bring it about. They have used every economic and political resource they've had to ensure the world stays dependent upon oil.

If the horse breeders of the 19th century had of used their political clout the way the oil companies of today have, we'd all still be riding in buggies and apologist economists would be telling us all how much modern civilization owes to the horse.
 .dej
Joined: 11/6/2007
Msg: 67
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/10/2010 8:41:25 AM
Isn't 25 miles off shore technically international waters?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 70
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/10/2010 3:36:32 PM

What are your views and thougts on this disaster
Haven't there been plenty of oil spills all over the world, that have ruined many coastlines and the livelihoods of many villages?

Why does the world go ape when the USA is affected, but doesn't seem to give two hoots when it happens to somewhere else?

how will it effect the economy
The same as any other oil spill in anywhere else in the world, and the same as Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans and Louisiana.

how will it effect the enviroment
The same as any other oil spill in anywhere else in the world.

What will become of BP ,
Seeing as, AFAIK, Americans make up 50% of the oil consumption of the entire world, probably quite a lot. A lot of them will think about using other companies. So I expect that they'll lose a lot of money.

were is Tony Haywood ?
He's there, trying to sort it out.

your views on offshore oil drilling
Why should my views on oil drilling change just because AMERICA got an oil spill, when they've been happening for decades?

how long will it take before the spill can be capped
A LOT quicker than when oil spills hurt other countries.
 wvwaterfall
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 71
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/10/2010 4:56:15 PM

Haven't there been plenty of oil spills all over the world, that have ruined many coastlines and the livelihoods of many villages?

Why does the world go ape when the USA is affected, but doesn't seem to give two hoots when it happens to somewhere else?


When I first read this my reaction was "yeah, but this spill is BIG!" and did a little research to see how it compares to other spills.

Turns out Scorpiomover makes a very good point.

The Exxon Valdez spill was only the 34th largest spill in the world, and this spill if left unchecked will take until mid June to reach that level.

It's still big. It's still bad, and the economic and ecological impacts are severe. But it's also quite true that we in the U.S. don't seem to care much about such things until they're right here, in our face.

We should do all in our power to cap this well, minimize the damage, and take steps to try to assure it never happens again. But we should also exhibit more compassion for those who have suffered and will suffer even worse devastation outside our borders. A big dose of humility is in order.

Dave
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 75
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/11/2010 4:14:22 PM
RE Msg: 71 by wvwaterfall:
We should do all in our power to cap this well, minimize the damage, and take steps to try to assure it never happens again. But we should also exhibit more compassion for those who have suffered and will suffer even worse devastation outside our borders. A big dose of humility is in order.


RE Msg: 73 by quietjohn2:
^^^^^They are called oil skimmers (http://www.oilskimming.com). the largest capacity is currently about 200 gallons per hour - about 5,000 gallons per day. which is on the small side for a 250,000 gallon per day leak. I suppose having a few bigger ones hanging around in case of an oil spill makes about as much sense as installing emergency shutoffs on the wells.
Great point.

Would it be possible to get 50 of them?

I believe that 50 at 5,000 gallons a day, would collect 250,000 gallons a day. So I believe that 50 of the biggest capacity should be able to collect all the oil. If the oil skimmers collect all the oil, then that will remove the oil spilling in the meantime, and free up the area to help BP and everyone else cap the wells, yes?

Even if 50 are unavailable, given the urgency of the situation, I would suggest to declare the situation an international emergency, and use that imperative to gather up all the oil skimmers that exist, until we have enough to cover the 250,000 gallons currently leaking out per day. Then (hopefully) we could cap the wells, and that would make it a temporary situation. I feel sure that if it can be contained in this way to a temporary problem, it should be no hardship to temporarily lend every oil skimmer that exists, cap the wells, and then, once the rest of the oil has been skimmed in a few more weeks, then return the oil skimmers to their regular locations.

What do you think? Good idea, or not worth trying?
 Bluesman2008
Joined: 4/2/2008
Msg: 80
The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/13/2010 1:20:45 AM
Can't wait for the criminal trials to begin.
 stargazer1000
Joined: 1/16/2008
Msg: 82
The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/13/2010 12:51:19 PM

Can't wait for the criminal trials to begin.


I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that. Sadly.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 96
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/21/2010 9:42:09 PM
Obviously the current and historic use of fossil fuels is less than ideal. But from what's been written on this page it seems as though people don't realize that the grass is still green, the sky is still blue, the squirrels are still here.

What data are you all using to justify your apocalyptic analysis?

Civilization is in a biologically "better" state today than at any point in human history. That includes all peoples of the world. Live expectancy and disease survival rates are up and infant mortality rates are down across the board.

The world is not coming to an end because human beings use oil. And yes, that includes plants and animals.

An unintended consequence of the use of petroleum-based products is that human beings are now more occupied listening to their iPods and reading Wikipedia than by hunting and gathering everything around them into near oblivion - as used to be the case. Educate yourself on early human civilization and you'll see that slash and burn agriculture is the history of the human race. It was extremely common for entire populations of animals to be decimated to feed a village. And yes *sigh* that includes the Native Americans. They were actual people ya know - no worse or better than anyone else - and not these little caricatures our popular media likes to portray them as.


(Not posting this to pick on the Native Americans by any means. Europeans, Asians, and the rest of the world was no different. I just want to propagate a more accurate understanding of human history):

"The cumulative impact of burning by Native Americans profoundly altered the landscape. When first encountered by Europeans, many ecosystems were the result of repeated fires every one to three years, resulting in the replacement of forests with grassland or savanna, or opening up the forest by removing undergrowth. More forest exists today in some parts of North America than when the Europeans first arrived. "


-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_use_of_fire


It's a curious thing how the rise of the use of oil in the US has occurred simultaneously with a dramatic rise in the number of trees and population of animals like beavers and bald eagles in North America. Don't misunderstand me. I don't think this has happened because we use oil. I think it's (largely) because use use energy.

Using fossil fuels does impose costs. But it is not destroying the planet. Even the number of animals kills in the tragic Exxon Valdez accident pales in comparison to the number of animals killed in any given day to supply human beings with flesh to frivolously consume.

If you want to save animals, then your efforts will have a far greater impact by supporting vegetarianism than by attacking oil. Even if you ignore brutal factory farming, oceanic fishing alone kills far more animals than do oil spills. There's no comparison whatsoever.

I mean, I'm all for advancing past fossil fuels and for accurately acknowledging and pricing the costs of oil... but good god, that doesn't mean we should sacrifice honesty, perspective, and rationality. Are these not the very things that give us our humanity?

My first post expressed a fear that this would happen.

The best thing we can do in my opinion is demand our congressman/women impose the costs of this spill on the BP shareholders and the other responsible parties. Make them pay for what they did. That means make them pay for the costs of the cleanup, make them pay for the losses suffered by businesses affected by the spill, and make them pay for a rationally-determined cost of the ecological damage. That way the price of their product will incorporate its external costs.
 Ubiquitous.
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Posted: 5/21/2010 10:36:14 PM
You still haven't given up on that semantic, non-argument?
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
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Posted: 5/21/2010 10:57:02 PM
How many times do I have to tell you? You are attributing to me a claim that I never made.

I wrote "offshore drilling is over 99% safe". That is not a claim. That is a string of words. The claim is the meaning the words imply. Said meaning is that which I attribute to them, not you. I clearly defined my use of the term "safe" in the context I used the word: barrels of oil successfully delivered to land vs barrels of oil spilled into the water. But you can't accept it. You are substituting your own definition in place of mine and thereby substituting my claim with the one you, for whatever reason, are attributing to me.

It'd be a good idea to study linguistics before perverting Aristotle.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 101
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Posted: 5/21/2010 11:09:54 PM

Empirical data really sucks, when you're on the "loser" side.

Its on mine.

Look up any figures of volume of oil produced by offshore drills in a given decade and compare them to amount spilled by them in the same time period. Any decade you want.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 104
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Posted: 5/21/2010 11:33:09 PM
Quietjohn


I have no idea. Laissez faire is not a system immune to accidents. And that's what this was.

If anyone could have known this would have happened, it would be BP. They not only have far more resources and technical knowledge of drilling oil and the capability and limitations of their equipment at their disposal than any politician, but they also had the greatest interest in preventing it from happening in the first place. Why would they ignore the risk if it was known? The only rational reason would be if they were confident they wouldn't have to pay for the costs. If property rights weren't being enforced. I'm sure that was some part of the equation. After all, Exxon only had to pay 25% of the cleanup costs of their Valdez spill, if my memory serves me. So I'm sure that BP operated with some belief that they could get around some costs. But the cost of this spill is so high that it is irrational to think that they would have ignored it if they knew about it.

People are acting as if BP is gaining from this. They are among the biggest losers here, obviously behind the animals that have and inevitably will be killed. And they should be. It is their accident. They should be responsible for the full costs of it.

So, I don't know.

But what I do know is that the oil industry would never have gotten the enormous subsidies and tax breaks that they have if they existed under a under a lassez faire system. Plus there would be far more competition in the industry. BP, Exxon, Shell wouldn't have half of congress in their pocket, either. Moreover, I would expect that the Gulf Coast would likely be owned by hundreds of thousands of people under a Laissez Faire system - much like land is. And I believe they would almost certainly be far more effective in demanding from BP full compensation the costs of this accident than will our government be, supposedly on our behalf.

Laissez faire doesn't mean anarchy. At least not when I use it. It requires a strong legal system, including policing and a robust court of law.

Plus I would expect to see a form of "Cap and Trade" legislated and enforced by the courts as this is the only practical way to enforce property rights in the air - which is why I support it now. That would be superior to our EPA in my opinion, which is largely influenced by our oil corporations. But this has more to do with the use of oil rather than spills. But it's still somewhat relevant.
 Ubiquitous.
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Posted: 5/22/2010 12:09:48 AM
It requires a strong legal system, including policing and a robust court of law that enforces property rights.***
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 107
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Posted: 5/22/2010 4:33:13 AM
Okay, I'm going to try to tackle this quickly.

My age is a complete non sequitur. The number of years I have been alive has no bearing whatsoever on the points that I made. I... understand the temptation to believe that youths don't know as much as you do. But, it is an invalid argument according to logic. Literally. And logic is the language of philosophy, which is the forum we're in.


Secondly, I know this thread isn't about me. I'm not sure what you meant by that lol?


Thirdly, I'm not sure how you qualify me as writing like "Gerry Springer". I've merely tried to keep things in perspective by applying principles of empiricism, valid epistemological reasoning, and logic to the discussion. Not sure how that relates to a frivolous talk show host lol. If you're referring to my earlier posts directed at Krebby, they're the result of his ad hominem attacks against me in this and other threads. It's a personal thing. Although I'll add that my latest responses against him have been docile despite his continued personal attacks lol.


And I have no sense of what others are trying to say? What makes you say that? Have I inaccurately described someone's points or something? I've read every single post in this thread. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what's been said. Do you think that because I don't believe the evidence warrants an apocalyptic discussion of the state and/or direction of the planet that I do not have a sense of what others have said?


Also, I never attempted to argue that history repeats itself. Not once. Not sure what gave you that idea.


And I'm not trying to make anyone feel stupid. Why would anyone feel "stupid" after reading my posts if I make virtually no good points as you've said? I speak with confidence because I make rational arguments based on evidence. I don't see how that could make anyone feel stupid.



I'd also like to question what resources do you consider finite? Fresh water, trees, agricultural goods, etc all are a part of a renewable cycle and exist in greater quantities today than they did 100 years ago despite our vastly increased consumption of them. That's the case in the United States, at least. Most resources on this planet are not utterly finite. We have control over their reproduction.


Also, scarcity (what I believe you've described as rarity) is not the result of greed. Scarcity is a feature of reality. All resources are scarce. Human perception has nothing to do with it.


I completely agree with you that we need one another and that we will be better off if we promote a healthy planet. Do you think I want to trash the planet or something? I think if you gave my posts an honest read and my arguments an honest thought, you'd clearly see that's not the case. I just believe a rational, descriptive conversation is not only more relevant to this forum (Science/Philosophy) but also more practical to the conversation of how to "fix the problem" than the emotional-based, normative/prescriptive discussion that has been starting to consume this thread. We don't make rational decisions based on normative, emotional claims. We make them based on descriptive empiricism. At least that's what I believe.


I agree wholeheartedly that BP doesn't have the ability (now) to solve this problem on their own. They obviously didn't invest in adequate equipment to clean after a spill of this magnitude. I'm not sure why you're bringing this up against me. I've claimed, repeatedly that I want the government to organize to clean up the mess (with BP's help) and for the courts to stick the bill with the BP stockholders.
I mean... you claimed that you don't read my posts. That's perfectly fine. But why argue against my points when you don't even read them? I never claimed that this we should just wait and expect BP to clean the mess themselves. Not once.

Don't you see the obvious waste of time and effort in challenging claims that were never made? This is just a strawman : /



Anyways, I can tell you're a good person who means well. I know you're not trying to belittle me by referencing my age. So no offence taken. I hope you haven't taken any offence from my posts. And if you decide to continue this conversation with me, I just hope we can stick to the points that we make and try to limit ourselves to principles of logic and empiricism.

...I hope you're enjoying your Saturday morning : )
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 109
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/22/2010 5:21:09 AM

By the by, just by using the words... Educate yourself, makes your style of writing look very condescending...

I can see how one can interpret it that way... but it wasn't meant that way at all. I was just conveying the point that if you learn about the history of human civilization, you'll see that the techniques humans used to supply themselves with food, lumber, land, etc were brutal.

And I wasn't stating that history repeats itself at all. I was stating just the opposite. Didn't you read my bit on the curious fact that as we've used more and more oil, we've also seen a dramatic increase in the number of trees and populations of animals such as beavers and bald eagles? I was arguing that poor, earlier human civilization had to engage in slash and burn agriculture in order to sustain themselves. Today we don't. Not in nations rich with capital.

This is why it's useful to read a post thoroughly before responding. So you don't inadvertently attack strawmen : /

I'm not arguing for correlation. I'm arguing against the idea that the use of oil decimates the planet lol. The US consumes by far most oil on the planet. Yet we have pretty darn green grass, thriving animal populations, growing forests, etc. I just don't see any evidence to warrant the apocalyptic claims that have been made. There's plenty of evidence that the use of oil imposes costs, but not widespread global destruction. This current spill may have that potential considering the ongoing nature of the accident. I just hope the leak can be sealed and that the responsible parties are forced to pay for the costs they've imposed.

And, about finite resources.. you are simply mistaken. This is a matter of fact, not opinion. Human beings are fully capable of replenishing resources like trees faster rate than we use them. We've been doing it for decades in North America. It is a fact that there are more trees in the United States today than there were 100 years ago. That's one of the many beauties of the price system. Greed encourages people to ensure the renewal of valuable assets that can be renewed.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 110
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/22/2010 5:28:27 AM
double post : (
 Ubiquitous.
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Msg: 112
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The BP oil spill in the Mexican Gulf ...
Posted: 5/22/2010 5:57:38 AM
I've watched the Story of Stuff. It is leftist propaganda filled with literal lies and zero understanding of economics. Its so unfortunate that it is being shown to elementary school kids.

You should watch Lee Doran's critique of it. That is if you are intellectually honest and will give the "other side" a fair chance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5uJgG05xUY - Part 1





You can make the claim that we are "enslaving" people in third world nations. Go on ahead. But guess what. Since India opened the borders to trade and allowed the US to "enslave" their citizens and "exploit" their resources, their poverty rates have cut in half in less than two generations. The same goes for China and just about every other nation the global economy trades with.

The nations NOT heavily involved in international trade are the ones that are poorest.

Again, you are simply mistaken about this. The Story of Stuff and the paradigms of thought on which it operates are not consistent with reality. Life is not a zero sum game. Both parties can benefit from trade. This is where an understanding of economics comes in.



*edit*

And what the f*ck, man. You keep harping on me about being condescending, but you CONTINUE to attack strawmen and throw non sequitur against me. Why are you stating that oil adds chemicals to marine life as if its an argument against me? I've acknowledged this fact over and over in this thread. Just because I rightly say that the empirical evidence doesn't warrant apocalyptic claims doesn't mean I don't believe oil imposes ecological costs. You're acting as you one has to take an extreme position.
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