Garbage In

As I walked by the garbage can in the Atlanta airport, it opened its mouth. Yes, the thing is automatic, so that you don’t have to waste energy pushing it open to throw away your coffee cup or Hershey wrapper. Of course, it wastes lots of other energy. I see public service messages on TV telling me to unplug my chargers. They call such things energy vampires. How about the electric garbage can? And anything that has moving parts wears out. That means that these things require maintenance. So some pinheads have taken a simple thing like a garbage can and made it complicated and expensive.

But that was not the end of the waste odyssey. I was walking around Roslyn and noticed an even more expensive and complicated garbage can. These garbage cans evidently compress the garbage after you toss it in. This waste is probably justified by some people, since they run on solar energy. Each of these things has a solar panel on top. But solar energy is not free. There is a considerable capital investment. I cannot believe these fancy garbage cans will ever break even. I suppose since they compress the garbage, the garbage collectors can come around less frequently, but I bet they don't. What happens to the liquid? People throw away half full cups of soda or coffee. They toss out organic materials and food. So can you really leave this stewing even if - maybe especially if - it is pressed together. So this machine squeezes the juice out of garbage. It seems to me that this worsens rather than improves the garbage disposal situation. It requires more, rather than less care and it does so at significant cost.

IMO, these are all examples of somebody spending somebody else's money. You couldn't sell one of these things to an individual homeowner, at least an individual homeowner whose home isn't the nut house. Consider if they didn't have these things. What if you had to push the thing open with your own muscle power in Atlanta or if the trash was not compacted into little package in Arlington. What a hardship. It is certainly worth the thousands of dollars and commitment to future maintenance. Yeah.

On a related note, garbage cans in Brazil (which you actually have to push open manually, BTW) often have the word "Obrigado" written on them. Obrigado in Portuguese means thank you, thank you for throwing away your own garbage. We have the same thing in the U.S. in some places. I was talking to someone who told me that he had a friend who asked why Brazilians kept on saying "garbage". Sounds absurd, but it makes sense if you recall where this guy commonly saw the word written.

Posted by Christine & John at September 21, 2011 9:19 PM
Comments
Comment #329633
I suppose since they compress the garbage, the garbage collectors can come around less frequently, but I bet they don’t.

I think you lost this bet. My university installed solar powered compactors last year. Nowadays, they save money because they don’t need to collect the garbage frequently.

But don’t take my word for it, read this article about a similar system in Nevada.

Facilities and maintenance officials at UNLV say the compactor will save money on more than just electricity. The school’s prior electric compactor was scheduled for twice-weekly emptying, full or not, at a lease rate of $4,200 a month. The new compactor has software that reports when it’s full, so Republic schedules a pickup only when needed, at a projected savings of perhaps $2,500 per month.

These things are not like those detestable leaf blowers.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 21, 2011 11:51 PM
Comment #329638

There are mechanisms that use other sources of power like cuckoo clocks and grandfather clocks. They can be spring operated or gravity powered. There is minimal energy spent rewinding the mechanism or “pushing” the pendulum. Many traffic systems now run off solar power. Low energy devices may be operated, and built quite cheaply, off of small solar panels without large solar arrays.

Maybe advances in engineering and even very old systems like grist mills might surprise you at their ingenuity. The whip and buggy business lacked foresight. They poo-pooed the coming auto age. Solar water heaters, geothermal systems also can be built in some areas without huge costs. Not being dependent on wallet sucking corporate giants and middle eastern tyrants has great value, in and of itself. You might be surprised at the value a customer places on such things. Like it or not, change is coming.

Posted by: Tom Jefferson at September 22, 2011 9:21 AM
Comment #329650

Warped, Some places will save money by having those types of trash compactors depending on what is being compacted. The company I used to work for had a compactor for it’s refuse but it left the dock area a mess because of leaking fluids from the compression and left a foul order. What they saved on pickups was lost in cleanup. By the way our pickup fees were no where near what the fees were at UNLV. and usually our compactor was full on both pickup days per week.

Posted by: KAP at September 22, 2011 2:58 PM
Comment #329653

KAP, If people were responsible and drained fluids before throwing stuff away then that wouldn’t be a problem. Did your employer provide a conveniently located sink for people to wash their junk before disposing of it?

I don’t know about UNLV; that’s just an article I found with Google. I do remember reading an article in a student newspaper at my school about the new solar compactors, but alas I cannot find it online. Long story short, my school laid off a bunch of garbage collectors when they bought the solar compactors. I used to see people empty the garbage bins every day; nowadays, they only come once a week. I’m convinced that my school is saving money with these compactors and that they represent a wise investment.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 22, 2011 3:55 PM
Comment #329654

Warped, Washing their junk before disposing of it LOL!!!!! We are talking about industrial waste such as water based inks, broken pallets, waste from the lunch rooms. Do you wash your junk before dispiosing of it?

Posted by: KAP at September 22, 2011 4:06 PM
Comment #329657

I hope Obama don’t hear about garbage cans that are compacting the garbage and require less pickup service. He already blamed ATM’s for banks not hiring tellers. Now we have green garbage cans that cut garbage collector jobs. So Warped’s university has cut jobs for green garbage cans. Between this and solar panel companies taking the money and then going belly up or shipping their work to China; we are seeing green jobs cause unemployment.

Posted by: Mike at September 22, 2011 4:36 PM
Comment #329658
we are seeing green jobs cause unemployment.

And here come the Luddite! Never mind the jobs created at the factory that creates these compactors.

Re ATMs: Obama earlier was simply noting that some of our unemployment is structural and not cyclical. I don’t think anyone would deny this fact.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 22, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #329659

“Re ATMs: Obama earlier was simply noting that some of our unemployment is structural and not cyclical. I don’t think anyone would deny this fact.”

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 22, 2011 4:47 PM

Is this what Obama actually said or is it just your interpretaion of what you think he meant to say?

Posted by: Mike at September 22, 2011 4:52 PM
Comment #329661

It wasn’t his words verbatim, but it was clearly implied by what he said.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 22, 2011 5:03 PM
Comment #329663

Warped

Maybe not as bad as the nefarious leaf blowers, but they still are a solution in search of a problem.

Tom

They might be “better” but better than what? They serve no particular purpose and/or cannot justify investments.

That one in Atlanta, for example, is completely useless. You could argue, as Warped has, that the compactor saves money by saving labor, but you would have to eliminate a lot of labor to make it work and if a government or unionized entity is responsible for the collection, your labor savings are probably not going to work out.

KAP & Warped

People won’t drain out liquids. And what are they going to do anyway. They would have to dump their cold coffee on the neighborhood sidewalk. What about a half eaten sandwich? It is the nature of garbage to be … garbage.

Re being a luddite - in this case that is what I am. I prefer simple solutions that don’t cost much and are easy to fix if they break.

BTW - it is like people who use “utilize” instead of use.

Posted by: C&J at September 22, 2011 5:59 PM
Comment #329665

Your right C&J garbage is garbage is garbage. I remember way back when they had trash compactors for the home. That idea went over real big. NOT!!!!!!!! We have the trash pickup trucks that have the compactors in them, I dread having to follow behind one of them and the foul liquids they leak. But they do have a purpose of less tri[ps to the dump site. But the industrial compactors are a good idea even though some of the drawbacks. But I have to agree with you those trash bin in the Atlanta Airport are a bit much.

Posted by: KAP at September 22, 2011 6:24 PM
Comment #329666

Well, C&J, the test here will not be your approval or disapproval, it will be what works, and what doesn’t.

If you can present me a means of perfectly determining all that beforehand without trying things, without putting technology to the test of practical use, you might have a point.

Otherwise, we should be trying whatever we can to see whether it works, not simply dismissing things because we’re not used to the idea.

Hell, they just had a result from CERN telling us that a bunch of neutrinos apparently got to a detector 60ns faster than they would if they were travelling at lightspeed. Folks will be testing the hell out of that idea, before it’s accepted as fact, because any number of reasons could be out there for it that have nothing to do with them travelling faster than light.

The thing most people misunderstand about science and technology nowadays, is that they think scientists have everything figured out, and measuring things is just so simple. It’s not. In the real world, and even in the lab, everything’s confounded, and measurements have to be calibrated. And some measurements can’t even be done with the arbitrary precision required to predict things the way we’d like.

They’re also looking for the Higgs Boson, and the question of whether or not they’re found could determine whether a new theory will be necessary in order to explain the sheer diversity of particles that physicists encounter.

Which leads me to another comment, about another misconception: that when a theory is disproven, that means it’s by necessity useless.

Einstein’s Relativity and the Standard Model of Particle Physics return very accurate results under most circumstances. Newton’s physics are still very useful for describing the mechanics of the world we see, and Maxwells Laws of Electromagneticism still describe much of electromagnetic behavior very well.

The thing it would pay for us to understand is that science attempts to fit explanations to the way things work by a process of adaptive approximation.

We start from a very broad approximation, and then we test to find the hidden problems in that theory or hypothesis. Most of the time, we’re going to find problems, and that is the point.

See we come into all this ignorant. Our imaginations are limited, limited by the bandwidth of our minds, and the limitations of our previous experience. We have to poke reality and see how it responds. Then we have to explain what we see. Now some insist that the theories they feel to be world-shakingly correct and new have to be correct. But they don’t. Nature doesn’t have to follow the lead of the scientists imagination. Scientists have to figure out nature’s direction, instead.

Then we get into engineering, into situations where people have to make things work where not everything neatly follows the rules, one at a time, and in a clearly separable and distinguishable fashion.

Inventors and innovators have to design things to balance between all kinds of priorities. We have to deal with the way the physics and materials of the real world interact, the unforeseen and unforseeable way technology and infrastructure behaves, despite our expectations.

This is my answer to those who expect green technology to develop first in labs and in textbooks, before it can be used in the real world: few technologies in the real world have ever been developed that way. We can’t simply wait until fossil fuel technology craps out on its own before we start working out the kinks and getting the infrastructure now. If we want this technology in a reasonable stretch of time, we commit to making it work now, to the extent it can. We’ll never figure the problem out just by sitting around and staring at our navels about it. Human imagination is good, but not that good, and reality renders the final verdict on our efforts. Best to get the cases moving through the court.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 22, 2011 6:34 PM
Comment #329672

Stephen

So you think it is a good thing to have a garbage can that needs a little motor and uses energy to open the little door so that you can toss in your garbage w/o having to use muscle to push it open?

Don’t ever again give me or anybody else a hard time about wasting energy.

The fact that you can equate an electric garbage can to Einstein’s theory of relativity tells me a lot. And the fact that you think an electric garbage can opener is green technology tells me even more. How do you feel about leaf blowers?

As I wrote to Warped et al. I am just a simple guy. I don’t really need an electric motor to open a garbage can door for me. I understand that complex guys don’t like to have to do things like that for themselves.

Reminds me of the old Simpson’s episode, when Homer saw a guy on an artificial lung and commented that he had been a chump all those years for breathing on his own.

Posted by: C&J at September 22, 2011 7:12 PM
Comment #329674

SD wrote; “The thing most people misunderstand about science and technology nowadays, is that they think scientists have everything figured out, and measuring things is just so simple.”

Perhaps the “most people misunderstand” statement applies to the bunch you hang with, but it certainly doesn’t describe “most” people. You are about as full of yourself as obama is.

SD hangs his belief system about MMGW on the same science he admits doesn’t know everything.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 22, 2011 7:52 PM
Comment #329680

Warped and Mike,

Your were correct, Warped. But, Obama actually stated verbatim what you thought was simply a paraphrase of his comments.

“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. “

Posted by: Rich at September 22, 2011 9:25 PM
Comment #329682

C&J-
I have no objection in principle to a motor on a trash can that can lift the lid. If the lid’s plastic, it probably doesn’t take much energy, and even if it’s a waste, it’s a petty waste to go after if your people are altogether unwilling to tackle even more substantial wastes.

According to reports, the Republican Congress ordered a whole office building worth of compact flourescents replaced with incandescents. Now, when confronted with this, the claim was that they’d go back, once again, and replace them with LED lights. But in the meantime, they’re burning a hell of a lot more energy.

Much more than any battery powered trashcan, I’m certain. Certainly a lot more than a SOLAR power trash compactor. Now you might say that it might leak. Maybe it will. But who knows, maybe somebody got the design right, and leaks aren’t a problem. Until that problem actually shows up, it’s just a hypothetical you’re arguing, and therefore a counterfactual.

You try and and claim a small inconsistency with a principle, in order to hamstring us in confronting you with a much greater, much more significant failure on the energy efficiency front.

I mean, it tells me something that your side deliberately aims for green energy projects as a means to cut the deficit. You treat it like waste, when in fact it’s about the exact opposite. Higher fuel efficiency vehicle purchases were singled out from the stimulus as wastes, despite the fact that their increased efficiency means taxpayers pay less for gas, especially when prices go up.

Your people fight to subsidize oil exploration, which is already very, very profitable, and will just be more so as gas gets more expensive per barrel (which it did after the GOP pushed through legislation that allowed energy traders to push the stuff acting like middlemen). Do the already profitable oil companies really need 90 billion dollars to incentivize what they’re doing?

How much are we actually paying for all that oil? Why are we paying the amount we are at the pump? How much are we losing out on, just so taxpayer dollars can go to keeping this monkey on our back? Why must new, alternative sources of energy run the guantlet of the market unassisted, while we shell out billions to make sure fossil fuels retain their energy dominance?

Methinks that somebody’s doing a good job of lobbying your folks and mine on behalf of the big oil, gas and coal companies. They don’t want competitors. They want the federal government to help them out to make sure of that.

It’s become a dogma, a learned helplessness based on a faulty assumption of the supposedly greater market merit of the fossil fuels. Nothing can be done, except to let them drill more, charge more, etc. The very things that improve their good fortunes. How odd a coincidence!

We can do better than this, however much it might grieve the fossil fuel industry to be less than the whole affair with what we euphemistically today call the energy sector.

Oh, by the way, I referred to relativity just as a demonstration of how misunderstood science often is. Relativity might be called into question as a basic theory of space and time, but despite that, it still successfully predicts much of the way the world works. If the results are right, then something there will have to be explained, to either reconcile the result to relativity as it is now, or pose an alternative that explains virtually all the phenomena better.

I prefer simple explanations myself, but I have come to understand that when better explanations exist for something, they often defy our preferences, both in the form and sometimes the fact of simplicity. Some of the most important discoveries in science and engineering are the ones we’re least expecting, that give us a window into a world our imaginations were too lacking in vision to perceive.

Royal Flush-
What do you hang your beliefs on, pray tell? There is the possibility that somebody will come along and provide an explanation for global warming that works in spite of the CO2 man’s put in the atmosphere, not because of it. But until your folks do the homework required to prove that, your vague, often already addressed doubts and theories don’t deserve to be considered with the same respect or credibility as the very well tested, very well confirmed theory you call Man-Made Global Warming.

Just because I don’t know everything, doesn’t mean you can argue from our mutual ignorance that your claim, your conclusion is true. It’s a textbook failure of logic. I could just as well argue, while we’re talking from the space of possibilities, that you’re wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve got positive grounds for my claim, where you only have the ghost of a positive claim which you believe would show up, if we indulged your theory. The climate scientists have done their work, tested their theory, and persuaded their colleagues with the preponderance of the evidence, yet you want to have your theories accorded the same credibility, haven’t done none of this.

I know that I don’t know everything. That’s part of the point of science. You deal with your theories and hypotheses as if you don’t know everything.

Because of that, you are taught not to ignore evidence, and you are taught to test what you perceive are the weak spots in your work, and that of others.

You don’t simply indulge doubts and beliefs with equal disregard for evidence in either direction, like your people are doing. Science means synchronizing your ideas and explanations about the world with the world itself, and excluding what ultimately doesn’t fit, whether that’s a belief or a doubt about a belief.

Your notion of science is absurd, as it would have scientists paralyzed in perpetual, unreasonable doubt about everything. Our ignorance isn’t absolute. It’s no more perfect than our knowledge is. I don’t know everything, but we can be sure, until a better picture comes along, about some things.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 22, 2011 10:15 PM
Comment #329684

Stephen

There you go again with “your people”.

If is very, very likely that I live a generally greener daily life than you do. I can virtually guarantee that I have planted thousands more trees and I bet you don’t commute to work on a bike, as I have often done for more than thirty years. I even am fairly sure that I would outscore you on a standardized science test. So just stop that “your people” stuff. You don’t know a thing about “my people”. My people are evidently beyond your comprehension.

So if by “my people” you mean people that are better, more in tune with their environment, healthier, wealthier and wiser, then you can refer to “us” as “your people”. Otherwise, just resist the urge to be narrow minded.

Re electric garbage cans. Okay, you say that it is better to replace fossil fuels with solar. But isn’t it better not to have an electric garbage can at all. Do you also like those electric paper towel dispensers? Do you require an electric device to pull up your socks.

I am sorry if you are too weak or lazy to push open a garbage can lid. I am made of sterner stuff than to be defeated by a garbage can. I really find it pathetic that anybody needs an electric device to use a garbage can.

And I really cannot understand how you can read so much into complaints about an electric garbage can and how you want so hard to defend it. I didn’t say a thing about Obama in this post. Do you feel so defensive that when somebody talks about garbage, you automatically feel aggrieved?

Again - how do you feel about leaf blowers?

Posted by: C&J at September 22, 2011 10:32 PM
Comment #329685

C&J-
Nice that you start with what’s bugging you personally about how I’m referring to Republicans. Well, let me tell you why I say “You people”.

Because I can’t nail people down as Republicans. They’ll say basically the same things as I hear the Republican leaders saying on TV (bizarre that I think some of you aren’t thinking for yourselves), but when asked, or even remotely identified as Republicans, many of your fellow conservatives will say “How dare you, I’m an independent!”

Kind of a dilemma. Y’all don’t distinguish your opinions enough that I can really put a proper name to it, besides calling you Republicans. So, it’s “you people.”

Re electric garbage cans. Okay, you say that it is better to replace fossil fuels with solar. But isn’t it better not to have an electric garbage can at all. Do you also like those electric paper towel dispensers? Do you require an electric device to pull up your socks.

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I don’t own any of those, but I’m not going to lead folks with pitchforks and torches to string up people who have them.

The Republicans nowadays are good at being keyed up, and at generalizing about things that neither represent the whole, nor represent something important. The garbage can doesn’t strike me as something I really need to crusade against.

There is value in picking your fights, and I’m really not concerned that the existence of such cans is going to make people lazy, or that it will represent a major drain on our power grids. You won’t save real money, you won’t save a whole lot of energy.

I mean, I talk about the need for an overall energy strategy, and you’re b****ing about electronic trashcans. One of us needs to shape up their priorities, and it isn’t me. I’ll tell you right off the bat that if you help get older homes and business better insulated, that’ll save a ton of energy They’ll also be cheaper for the the families and the business to live and work in.

I support higher CAFE standards. Why? Because even if it can’t bring growth in energy use to screeching halt, it can and already has allowed us to operate our economy on less fuel, and thereby less expense.

Efficiency is nothing to laugh at. If you have an air conditioner that’s running all the time, you’re going to see it on your bill. If it’s well maintained, if the house isn’t leaking heat like a sieve, it will do the same job for less energy. More work done more economically.

I don’t worry about penny-ante stuff. I worry about real consistency of principle, rather than talk about leaf blowers. Would it surprise you to learn that I actually like pushbrooms better?

As for outscoring me on a standardized test? Who knows. I repeatedly tested in the 98th percentile on the standardized tests I was given, but that doesn’t, of course, rule out your having scored that well or higher. Of course, tests of most kinds weren’t a problem for me. I managed to keep B to A averages in most classes despite the fact that I was terrible about homework, simply because I had a tendency to retain and remember material.

Of course, you might be just as good. Who knows? One thing for sure, though, I take what I learn seriously, and politics is secondary when it comes to those things. Getting into a political argument with nature is like boxing a tree trunk with your bare hands.

If you want to disparage liberals and environmentalists in this kind of way, be my guest, I just have to advise you that I won’t let the BS go unchallenged. You’ve been coasting on the remains of thirty years of liberal stereotypes, and the problem is, your side hasn’t distinguished itself in terms of diagnosing and treating America’s problems.

You’re welcome to find conservative ways to get things done right, but get things done right first and foremost, and worry about framing things politically second. The real must come before the imaginary.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 23, 2011 12:30 AM
Comment #329686

Time for me to fess up. Stephen just convinced me that GW is man made. He just spewed so much hot air that I am assured the temperature is rising still.

“Your people” is just a cop out and a condescending attitude that only people who lack confidence use to cover their own inability to come with original thoughts and communicate on a level that makes sense, and uses real logic and reasoning.

Must be the Gulf of Mexico water. Try bottle water and see if that can help.

Maranatha.

Posted by: tom humes at September 23, 2011 2:30 AM
Comment #329687

Stephen

What bugs me is the use of the term “your people”. I tend to vote Republican and I am conservative, but people with one or both those characteristics include a majority of the American people.

And in this post I did NOT attack or mention liberals. I did not attack environmentalist. I only attacked the dumb idea of an electric garbage can. If you think that an electric garbage can is the symbol of liberalism, I think your stereotype is worse than mine.

And when you use the term, you do it in a completely ignorant ignorant fashion. To you, it evidently means people who are greedy & stupid. You use it in a dishonest way to try to close off debate. It is kind of “your people don’t deserve an option”

You just do not understand. I did NOT attack environmentalism (I would put my environmental credentials against yours any day, BTW). All I said is that these electric garbage cans are a waste, like leaf blowers. They are not environmentally sound. They are a mistake.

So I will not let your misconceptions go unchallenged. You know (or would know if you understood) that you are arguing the wrong points, at the wrong time and not even doing that very well.

When you reach my level or environmental understanding, maybe you will come along. But that may be years and maybe never if you think an electric garbage can is an advance for the environment.

Posted by: C&J at September 23, 2011 7:52 AM
Comment #329689

Man, I was way off.
I read ‘Garbage In’ and thought it was about wasting money on needless items. Not a good idea during a pretty bad recession.
I had no idea C&J was really trying to coverting halt the advancement of technology.

Posted by: kctim at September 23, 2011 9:39 AM
Comment #329691

tom humes-
Is there a region of the United States you haven’t slandered by any chance? If you claim to love your country, doesn’t it kind of mess up things if you hold most of it in contempt?

C&J-
You’re basing your claim of majority Republicanism on the turnout of the last election.

So lets break this claim down: you claim that a majority of Americans voted Republicans. How do we figure out the strength of your claims? We look at the numbers.

In 2008, the total turnout was 132 million people, and change. In 2010, the turnout was 90.6 million. Total eligible voters was 218 million in 2010, 213 million in 2008. If you’re wanting to claim some mandate-building majority, then you’re out of luck, because the total voters were under half of those eligible to vote, and less than a third of America’s total population, which puts the bare majority you’re bragging at less than a quarter of the voting eligible population, and less than a sixth of total population.

As Chevy Chase so eloquently put it in Spies Like Us, “Let that be a lesson to you!”

Seriously, though; The truth is, America’s political future is in the hands of those who show up. America’s government isn’t a government by the people, it’s a government by the citizens, and it’s a good question what the citiizens of America are going to do in response to your party’s outrageous behavior.

Alright, that claim laid to waste rest, we can get on with the rest of your argument.

The question that bugs me (more than any generalized label applied to me), is why garbage cans? Why in particular a solar powered one? Why raise so many hypothetical doubts upon it. You spend a whole paragraph trashing (sorry) the solar compactors, but you provide no real data to show that something has gone wrong. Plus, you post this to a political site, and make subtle suggestions about the waste of other people’s money. I mean, come on, you choose a certain audience, you raise doubts about a piece of green technology to that audience, etc. You’re not simply making an objective observation here.

It’s an ill-advised game of plausible deniability. Ill-advised in that few look at it and don’t see the political bias of the right in place. Your last entry was about Solyndra, where you took the failure of one loan, and cast dispersion on a program where 98.7% of the other loans are doing just fine. Are we to believe that the sentiments that would have you pushing that one canard wouldn’t extend to this, that your biases, even if not obvious to you, shouldn’t be pointed out by the rest of us?

And why do you keep on trying to nail me down to automatic garbage cans and leaf blowers? Why not challenge the rest of us on bigger, more important things? This is a rhetorical magic trick, complete with forced perspective, where a small issue, a small failure, or even a hypothetical, unconfirmed suspicion, are magnified into significant reasons to oppose certain technologies or philosophies.

Meanwhile, I’m not distracted. Take at my word, I neither love nor hate the electric garbage can, and can’t understand why my earnest statements on that count haven’t sunk in. Your measure of whether I’m serious about the environment is flawed if you’ll overlook the purchase of a particular kind of car to stake the measurement of all my intentions on leaf blowers and electric garbage cans that use up far less energy than my car. No, I don’t have an electric garbage can, and don’t really want one.

And about the Solar Compactors? As far as I can tell, after doing a quick google search, there are many cities and states using this invention, and not all that many complaining about it. They put plastic bags in these, and have enclosed bins. So, you tell me: has there been a nice string of failures of this product to back your point, or is this only what you think might happen?

That’s the key distinction I’d like to make. Many times, folks writing politics come up with objections that the scientists and engineers have already answered. Do you think these things would be so widely deployed if they hadn’t thought that part through? These things have been out there since at least 2006. It would seem they knew what they were doing.

kctim-
What C&J fail to realize is that there’s little needless about the solar compactors. They help cities and states operate more efficiently, by requiring fewer trash pickups. They also have the virtue of being enclosed, which is an actual selling point for beaches and parks where animals might get into the trash and spread it around.

It’s not that C&J are trying to halt the advancement of technology. They’re simply casting politically based aspersion on a new innovation which they fail to back up with real evidence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 23, 2011 10:25 AM
Comment #329692

Stephen, Your reading things that aren’t there again. C&J never said most people voted Republican, but said most people ARE CONSERVATIVE, are there not any conservatives in the democratic party or independents? This whole thing is about technology going amuck, IMO I think technology could be better applied to the betterment of the humanrace battery powered self opening garbage can lids is IMO not bettering the life of humans unless your lazy of course. As I said in my comments, we had a trash compactor where I used to work, the only drawback is the foul liquid that leaked from the container which in turn drew rats and made a mess of the area they werev in. When trash compactors can be totaly sealed to where they do not leak fluids. Then again someone would have to devise a catch basin to where the fluids leaking from the compactor be pumped to a holding tank to be dumped at a contaminated liquid disposal facility. But then we have another problem COST for dumping the foul liquid wich would now override the efficiency of the green technology.

Posted by: KAP at September 23, 2011 10:51 AM
Comment #329693

SD

“Is there a region of the United States you haven’t slandered by any chance? If you claim to love your country, doesn’t it kind of mess up things if you hold most of it in contempt?”

Inform and enlighten me. What areas have I slandered?

Your operative word is “If”. I reminded you just recently about the dog and rabbit, but I guess the memory span is selective in liberals. And I do acknowledge the use of the word guess. And I don’t care.

So what is done with the batteries when they need replaced? And if was said that bags were placed in the containers. When we turn the lights out on petroleum, somebody better have a fix on how to produce those petroleum based bags and the container they go into. What happens when the collector malfunctions? You know have to find another one or just let nature trash it for you. The logistics are not so hot for just a couple of items I mentioned. There are more, of course. So is going green really going green or is it just somebody’s wallet going
green?

It comes down to using solar or any alternative source of energy or product wisely.

Wonder what tax bracket the inventor is in? Just wonderin’.

Posted by: tom humes at September 23, 2011 11:33 AM
Comment #329695

Stephen

I have nothing against a solar powered garbage can, but now is not the time to be spending ten grand on one. Yes, I realize those who spent the money estimate how much it will save them and how they will have a smaller impact on the environment, but from my experience, they play a little loose in order to come up with such grand estimations.

Fewer collections sounds great, but how much money and air are you really saving by driving by the unit instead of taking a few minutes to stop and empty it? Enough to justify the additional cost and impact in order to ensure the units are properly maintained and repaired to keep them in working order? Enough to justify the additional cost and impact of cleaning up when the unit is not working? As garbage cans are one of the most vandalized pieces of public property, will it be enough to justify the additional police presence and replacement of the unit? Enough to justify the extra resources, energy and pollution needed to produce just one of these units?

Even if the answer to all of those is yes, what about the workers? Do we just fire all the one’s no longer needed or do we pay the same wage to go out each day to clean up or collect the liquid waste that will result from compacting the trash right there on the street?

I’m not saying they aren’t practical or not a good idea. But, with local, state and federal budgets so far in the red, is now really the best time to be experimenting with our tax dollars?

Posted by: kctim at September 23, 2011 12:09 PM
Comment #329698

Everyone, I have been a regular watchblog reader for almost a decade. This used to be a site that lived up the the “critique the message and not the messenger” motto. now its all about opinions with very little facts to back it up, and when i mean facts i am referring to links to reliable sources to back up your arguement. Things have changed since back in the day. Lately i find these debates are just being rude to each other and expressing opinions. I must say as a regular reader it is not very encouraging. Now im sure someone will post that if i dont like it is should go somewhere else and my post is not meant to do anything but say sometimes the purpuse of this site is lost on its participants. Stop attacking each other and stick to debating ideas. Otherwise the site is bound to lose readers and commentators. what a shame that would be, this is a great forum for debate

Posted by: Paul at September 23, 2011 1:23 PM
Comment #329701

KAP-
Sorry. Even with the latest, most favorable results, self-identified conservatives constitute only 41% of the nation. That means 59 percent identify as moderate or liberal. Additionally, a number of issues that would typically be used as litmus tests for candidates don’t poll well at all beyond conservative voters.

On the subject of compactors, you’re welcome to find word about these particular compactors leaking fluids. If you’re going to argue this side of the debate, I would tell you to back up your position with more than “we had a trash compactor that leaked.” According to the information I looked up, the compactor is of a self-contained design. As one site describes this kind of compactor:

Self-contained compactors are designed to prevent leakage in applications where trash has a high liquid content, including supermarkets, hospitals and restaurants. Self-contained compactors are leak-proof units that combine both compactor and container, along with a built-in sump for retaining liquids.

The pictures I saw of the interior of these units has the trash compacted in a box which has a plastic liner on it. I wouldn’t wager it’s absolutely foolproof, but I doubt this is an issue that the makers of these solar compactors overlooked

tom humes-
I hear talk about Massachussets and other kind of Northern Liberals, Left Coast Liberals, and now you’re insulting folks on the Gulf Coast I wonder, if you totalled up the population of all the places you despise, how many Americans would really pass muster with you?

I mean, your leading candidate implied the possibility of secession to cheers from a tea-party crowd. I see bumper stickers in my neck of the woods saying that. And of course, y’all talk about real Americans, as oppose to the rest of us poor suckers.

Batteries can be recycled. As a matter of fact, when it come to lead and lithium, recycled batteries are a major source of the chemicals and elements in question. Well over 90% of lead batteries end up recycled, and more than half of their material is recycled.

The compactors are networked machines, so if they go offline or malfunction, the folks will know. I really doubt, though, that they engineered this product to be so fragile.

If you have positive evidence that these things are malfunctioning a lot, please have at it. If you have none, then this is just unfounded nitpicking.

And really, do you actually think that oil infrastructure and everything is problem free?

My Father use to work selling cathodic protection for pipelines. You know what that means? oil is corrosive. Cathodic protection works by sacrificing an electrode in order to deter the corrosion. Also, I can remember any number of refinery explosions through the course of my life, including one recently from BP. Also, why don’t we mention blowouts, especially the one that crippled and destroyed the Deepwater Horizon. Oh, and what about that recent pipeline leak that got into one of the rivers that feeds to the Great Lakes?

If you think that fossil fuel technology has all the kinks and the risks worked out, you’re wrong.

kctim-
frequency is the issue. In the case of regular garbage cans, we have a constant schedule of pick-ups that all waste gas. As for vandalism? Well, if we never made anything nice because we thought it might be vandalized, well, we’d never make anything good.

As for the workers… hmm, why so concerned all of a sudden? They can do work elsewhere. They can be reassigned to some other program, or the funds can be redistributed to pay for jobs elsewhere.

As for whether we should be experimenting, tell me something: if you were that interested in the status quo, you’d be advising us to stabilize our budgets and maintain basic services as is. Instead, Republicans and conservatives advocate radical changes in compensation, numbers of employees, etc, in order to achieve their aim of shrinking government.

Truth is, you if you want to lower the cost of government, you have to do things differently. There’s no getting around it. You’re forcing the disruptive changes here, though apparently you’re having second thoughts about them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 23, 2011 1:59 PM
Comment #329704

SD

“I hear talk about Massachussets and other kind of Northern Liberals, Left Coast Liberals..”

When did I specify any location for liberals. They are universal. Kinda like roaches. They are good neighborhoods and ghettos.

”..if you totalled up the population of all the places you despise,..”

You sure like to “if” things. I despise no place. So, there is a zero sum for you to chew on.

“I mean, your leading candidate..”.

That statement makes no sense. I have no leading candidate.

“Batteries can be recycled.”

How profound!!

“And really, do you actually think that oil infrastructure and everything is problem free?”

I am waiting for some type of remark that can be discussed with a modicum of wisdom. All I hear is assumptions and said with an attitude that gives the reader some form of knowledge that has yet disseminated.

Thank God for Google. It makes us look so smart!!

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at September 23, 2011 2:33 PM
Comment #329705

Sorry Stephen but lumping moderates and liberals together would show a brighter picture for you but the fact is according to gallop 42% conservative, 35% Moderate and 20% liberal, with moderates swinging either way would still give conservatives the advantage. NICE TRY!!
As far as compacters go, some may be self contained and I imagine hospitals would have one, but how many retaurants you know of have them, I can’t think of any especially the small diners most that I have seen are plain dumpsters supplied by a private trash hauler who probably can’t afford a fancy trash pickup truck like some major cities have. The apartment I live at has the same type of dumpster with a private company who picks up the trash twice weekly. I can tell you I wouldn’t want to follow behind the truck with the nasty liquid leaking out. The same with industrial pickups most who have compacters ould give a crap about the foul liquid leakin out most just send out a janitor person to clean up once in a while like the company I used to work for.

Posted by: KAP at September 23, 2011 2:47 PM
Comment #329706

The Big Bellies are a good improvement.

But how does the system separate the toxic materials from normal recycled materials?

How does maintenance get accomplished?

What does the warranty cover and for how long?

What is the cost per unit?

How many people are displaced or recycled to new positions?

The answers will vary with each community that employs the use of the Big Bellies. (had to put that in there for those who think my IQ is the sum total of the first three digits. of course they are wrong it is a mathematical equation that uses the first five digits).

I hope the system works well financially and eco-wise for the communities that use them. This sounds like a step forward.

The main drawback is that they should be yellow, so that dogs have a new area of pissing in public.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at September 23, 2011 2:53 PM
Comment #329708

Stephen

So, with frequency being the issue, it is ok to drive right by one of these new units on your way to empty another new or regular trash can? That doesn’t make any sense at all. These new units cannot, and will not, replace all of the regular trash cans. Regular trash cans that will still require a constant schedule.
When something is vandalized, it has to be repaired or replaced. In this case it would be hundreds for regular cans, or thousands for the new ones. Police will be assigned to protect these investments which in turn will cost man hours and add more pollution.

“As for the workers… hmm, why so concerned all of a sudden?”

Hmmm, what was my concern before?

“They can do work elsewhere. They can be reassigned to some other program, or the funds can be redistributed to pay for jobs elsewhere.”

That costs money and adds to the true costs of buying these units.

“if you were that interested in the status quo, you’d be advising us to stabilize our budgets and maintain basic services as is.”

Uh, isn’t that what I stated when I said NOW is probably not a good time to be experimenting with tax dollars?

“their aim of shrinking government.”

Sigh. This has nothing to do with shrinking government. This is about common sense. Good time to do something, not a good time to do something.

“Truth is, you if you want to lower the cost of government, you have to do things differently. There’s no getting around it. You’re forcing the disruptive changes here, though apparently you’re having second thoughts about them”

How in the hell is saying now is the time to be wise with our money, disruptive? IF I wanted to base this on politics and be disruptive, I would have said that we should cut services, workers etc… Instead, I said I think the new idea is kind of a good one and that maybe trying it out when we are more stable, would be a better idea.

There is no anti-solar agenda here, Stephen.

Posted by: kctim at September 23, 2011 3:09 PM
Comment #329709

SD asks; ” Do the already profitable oil companies really need 90 billion dollars to incentivize what they’re doing?

$90 billion? Where did that figure come from?

“The total amount of earnings not collected in taxes (which liberals define as a “subsidy”) is about $4 billion per year. Just to re-cap a few pertinent features of these “subsidies” to oil companies that Obama wants to cut.

1) They are all tax “breaks,” or earnings that oil companies get to keep, not money paid out from the US Treasury.
The amount of earnings not collected in taxes is about $4.3 billion per year — about 0.2% of this year’s deficit and enough to fund about 10 hours of current US government spending.

2) A full $3.55 billion of that amount (82%) is due to the way taxes are treated for all industries or manufacturers. To change these tax laws only for oil companies would require singling them out among all industries for special mistreatment. (I’m not a lawyer, but that sounds like a bill of attainder to me, something our Constitution forbids.)

3) The only tax in which the oil industry seems to get special treatment compared to other industries is intangible drilling costs. The amount of that subsidy? That would be $0.78 billion per year — enough to fund less than two hours of federal spending in 2011, and not even half the amount we are lending a foreign-owned and state-owned oil company for drilling offshore Brazil.

4) Oil companies already pay tax rates of 40-50% of income. For one company, Exxon, in one quarter of one year, that amount was over $8 billion, or almost double the so-called tax “subsidy” for all oil companies for an entire year.”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/about_those_oil_subsidies.html

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 23, 2011 3:15 PM
Comment #329711

C & J sometimes it is the smallest thing that sets off the most interesting arguments on this site.

Yeah I have seen the automated trashcans (compactors in a home) and if folks paid attention to what they really need instead of all the wants, they would have less garbage to throw away. Especially in the area of grocery where tons of trash could be prevented every year by using your own bags, containers and shopping at farmers markets, etc for in season foods that would be healthier for all of ya. Yes there are some things that folks don’t want to give up or feel they can’t live without. What are they going to do if that item is not available anymore?

Also remember that all those electronics need “rare earths” that are just that - RARE and FINITE. Same thing in the agricultural world. There are certain chemical fertilizers that are mined that are becoming scarce. We cannot wave a wand and just create these.

We also have trashed our space program and the ISS is in trouble since the Russians have been having trouble with their space vehicles(rockets) to resupply let alone bring the folks up there back to earth.

So ya’ll can quibble about garbage cans - makes a great read but there are more pressing issues in the world that really need to be addressed before it is too late to do anything about them.

Posted by: Kathryn at September 23, 2011 4:35 PM
Comment #329712

Stephen

“Meanwhile, I’m not distracted.” There has not been a time when you have NOT been distracted. I wrote a simple post about the dumbness of having electric garbage cans. You evidently think that being in favor of dumb ideas like electric garbage cans is a liberal idea and felt the need to defend it.

I never called it liberal, never mentioned Obama or anything like that.

I regret if you are so sensitive and insecure that anything seems like an attack.


Paul

I wrote a short note about an annoying bunch of electric garbage cans. I have also written about annoying leaf blowers etc. I really didn’t expect a partisan attack of any kind. In fact, I didn’t expect any comments. It was just a simple observation.

You are right about the hyper partisan environment when somebody identifies electric garbage cans with liberalism. and feels the need to defend them from that point of view.

I apologize if I got personal. I get really annoyed with the use of the term “you people”. I feel it is used as a means to stop debate.

Posted by: C&J at September 23, 2011 6:02 PM
Comment #329714

Not that anyone gives a damn but, I have both…an electric trash compactor and an electric leaf blower.

I only put dry waste in the compactor (cans, paper, glass and such) and like it because it reduces the volume of my garbage and, perhaps the main reason…my wife wanted one.

The leaf blower is very handy for blowing the leaves off my decks and parking slab. It saves my back which seems to ache when using the broom. I have lots of trees and the leaf blower keeps everything nice and tidy in a short period of blowing.

I never calculated the cost of electricity for either tool, but would guess it is insignificant.

I also have a dishwasher. I could easily do dishes by hand, but why would I want to? Plus, the dishwasher uses very hot water and does a better job of sterilization than possible by hand washing.

I also have a huge Gravely, commercial size, zero turn lawn mower. We mow nearly five acres and this mower makes it possible to keep the place neat. I could mow by hand, in fact, twenty years ago I did. Now, at age 70, I appreciate these power tools.

I own a gasoline powered chain saw too. With all the trees we have it makes it possible to trim the low hanging branches and dispose of the dead wood when a trees dies.

Yet, with all these power tools I believe my carbon footprint is less than many others writing on Watchblog. I built my house myself and insulated heavily. I can nearly heat it with a candle and cool it with an ice cube. We use propane for heating the house, water and for cooking.

It’s still hot here in Texas but the nights are beginning to cool. So, I open the windows at night and let in the cool air and then close them in the morning to keep the cool in the house. I don’t run the air conditioning much that way.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 23, 2011 6:44 PM
Comment #329730

tom humes-
Batteries can be recycled isn’t profound, it’s a fact. The impact on the environment can be minimized, and the people who make this device probably do take those steps.

You write as if we really shouldn’t be bothered with the alternatives because of potential problems, problems you haven’t even proved remain unaddressed by the makers of the compactors that C&J are speaking of. I’ve presented the fact that these compactors he speaks of are are designed to handle the potential in compacting trash that the garbage might have high liquid content in it. It’s not some new, untested technology to keep the moist stuff from getting out. It’s not really an unsolved, or at unleast unaddressed problem.

Same thing with recycling batteries. In fact, most of the lead in the car batteries you buy comes from recycled car batteries.

Thank God for Google. It makes us look so smart!!

I’m going to take you excessively literal here, and say, yes, thank God. It makes it a fairly quick matter to research things you are uncertain of.

Let me turn around and ask you, what’s the problem with that? What’s the problem with being able to research news reports and reference material online in order to discover what’s actually true, instead of just passing on the latest crop of claims that somebody might have sent by e-mail or made on television?

I use it so I don’t have to spin in place with a whole lot of BS in order to answer the things you say. It’s not weakness, it’s the right way to hold the debate, deciding question not on ideology or hearsay alone, but going and finding out the truth for yourself.

You should cheer on people doing that, if your principles are consistent, because without people doing their own research, instead of just taking whatever authorities they prefer at their word, the individualism your libertarian philosophy holds high is just a sham. Knowledge is power, and a real libertarian should think and act on that, and seek such things out for themselves, rather than obediently accepting information from sources that form the establishment of a political movement.

As for toxic materials? Well, there’s really no guarantee of that with regular trash, now is there? But more to the point, what are people tending to throw away at the parks and public places they show up at? Mostly food, beverages, perhaps newspapers and such. In other words, most trash isn’t going to be toxic.

If you’re going to disparage or cast doubts on the machines, I would say it would best if you did so on what has gone wrong with them, rather than simply raising questions that you might not know the answer to, either. I tend to want to confront my adversaries in a debate with that kind of information, because it makes it difficult for them to wiggle out of the conclusion that I draw as an alternative.

It’s not simple altruism or idealism that leads me to prefer fact-based argument. It’s the simple idea that even if my opponent will not concede a damn thing, I will see them have to dance around the facts I’ve established, or do the usual round of denials, and do that out there in front of our audience. I want to force you to fall back on your “Liberal Media” demonization, among other things, even as I present an independently convincing argument, that people can check for themselves.

KAP-
Of course I lumped liberals and moderates together, and that is valid for my party, because liberals and moderates represent roughly equal proportions of my party, (between 30 and 40%) with conservatives making up the rest. The Republicans, on the other hand, are 69% conservative.

Republicans and conservatives like to lay down the notion that what Democrats present is merely the agenda of self-identified liberals. However, the party surged and succeeded with the help of self-identified moderates as well.

That should give you pause. I’m not going to claim that those who vote Democrat are greater in number than those who vote Republican, necessarily, especially not based on a lower turnout election.

As for compactors? Again, present me with some real information here, because otherwise, you’re just spinning castles in the air from minimal fact. Whatever the dumpsters and the garbage trucks tend to leak is irrelevant. The real question is how much and how often the compactors in question leak, and how often. If they’re not really doing so, then it is either not an issue for those dealing with leaking trash receptacles anyways, or alternatively, it’s not an common problem they’ve run into with the systems.

kctim-
Typically, you’ll wait five times longer to empty these cans. Also, I would imagine that they would not simply recapitulate the same route, which would defeat the purpose, but instead plan one that only services the cans that are full. That will tend to be a shorter route with shorter travel time. If this wasn’t the case, you wouldn’t see multiple cities adopting the system, in order to cut costs.

I’ve actually seen one of these, near the place I work. It’s pretty much durable plastic, not exposed metal and circuitry. Even the solar panel is beneath a plastic covering.

And why vandalize them? Why would they be an attractive target? It’s silly. Unless they are a particular attractive target, I don’t see why that is part of the cost-benefit analysis.

“They can do work elsewhere. They can be reassigned to some other program, or the funds can be redistributed to pay for jobs elsewhere.” That costs money and adds to the true costs of buying these units.

No, the point is to free up funds and personnel to do other things. The efficiency enables the governments to do more work with less. This is part of the problem with your approach to government: you see anything but elimination as a waste, and therefore don’t think of other ways in which things can be more efficient. And really, why are you getting so concerned now for the job-killing effect efficiency might have? Aren’t you advocating that these government get downsized for the sake of the private sector?

You don’t acknowledge, unfortunately, that carrying out the conservative agenda of spending-oriented austerity is disruptive. You paper over the fact that if you don’t change things at a city and state level, that unacceptable sacrifices might have to be made. You disrupt on one side, but are unwilling to change things so that disruption has a less of a negative effect.

If we’re going to pay less, but expect the same level of services, as we often do in the case of parks, then we’re going to have to get clever, instead of breaking out the budget chainsaw.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 24, 2011 10:29 AM
Comment #329731

Stephen

Let’s strip this down, because I think you got confused and in over your head.

You should always start any project with the desired result in mind. After that, you work backwards to the best methods to achieve it. You want to find the most elegant and simple solution that will achieve the desired result.

If your goal is to keep the streets or halls at the airport free of litter, do you think that electric garbage cans are the most elegant, simplest, cheapest or environmentally friendly solution?

Posted by: C&J at September 24, 2011 11:07 AM
Comment #329732

Royal Flush-
1) That money they don’t pay in taxes has to be gotten from some other source. Tax cuts that require deficit spending are by definition simply future costs put on those who do pay taxes.

2) Sorry, thanks for playing. If your logic was true, singling out manufacturers or mining or whatever with tax laws would be unconstitutional. There would be a lot of tax breaks babies you would be tossing out with the oil subsidty bath water.

3) Which, you fail to do here. Really, RF, has it occured to you that you’re taking away the incentive here for oil companies to search for their resource wisely and efficiently? If they bore their own costs for finding the product that makes them such a profit, they might do one or both of two things: get less sloppy about how they find oil, about how they operate their business in general, and/or price their product in such a way that the true cost to the American people for their product is made apparent, and up front.

As it is, we’re paying for their oil, for their profit, in a roundabout way, anyways. It may seem like less at the pump, but our tax dollars go to fund the debt that allows them to reduce that cost. It’s a shell game, and you’re entirely unwilling to admit who is paying, and how much, and for what.

According to your principles, we shouldn’t be paying for a company to be profitable. If you truly believe in the free market, we should be leaving the oil companies to their own devices. If oil is truly profitable to extract, take back the tax breaks and everything, and it should be profitable still. They will set the prices and set the internal policies and process necessary to make that profit, or they will go out of business.

Isn’t that’s how it’s supposed to work? The problem is, of course, that those energy companies sell something that is necessary for the rest of the economy, upon which we’re dependent. That would be your justification for not allowing the oil companies to simply operate according to their own devices. But that concedes, implicitly, the problem of that expense to our economy. That concedes that more and more, oil could be the bad choice. Only thing is, is that since the economy is dependent on it to function, we’re forced to feed that addiction. Otherwise the cost of everything goes up.

Drill baby drill, right? That’s the hope, isn’t it? Well, that’s what the oil companies would want people to believe, but the realistic timeline for development runs far into the future, and supplies remain finite. You’d save cents on the dollar, and with energy traders doing what they do, I doubt we’d see a penny of that.

We could get a reprieve if those who were hoarding oil were forced to let supply flow as supply would, but I have the feeling that prices would rebound. See, there are certain places it’s economical to drill, and certain places it’s not. They’re not charities, they have to turn a profit. Ah, but if supply naturally becomes less, if the number of barrels of recoverable oil for a given price is reduced, well then the price will naturally go up, until supply and demand reach a sort of equilibrium.

We’re paying with the dollars of tomorrow to subsidize a fuel source that will, as time goes on, become inherently more expensive. We’re paying to keep ourselve addicted to a drug whose price will only get higher.

Does that strike you as a wise investment? The advantage of the current system is that for the most part, it’s already there. The costs are sunk, the pipelines, terminals, refineries and drilling platforms built, deployed, and themselves “refined” by years of being the dominant energy source. Oil, while not the most economical option is the laziest option of them all. At least it seems that way. The trouble is, the hard work is on the back end, trying to run an economy with a fuel source becoming more and more rare.

My belief is that now is the time to stop subsidizing an energy source that is constraining our economic growth, and start subsidizing energy sources and fuel sources that we can dependably produce and reap.

Put another way, rather than hunt and gather energy, we should farm it, in some cases, perhaps, literally. Rather than passively depend upon oil, coal, and drilled natural gas, we should actively seek out ways to capture and concentrate the energy we need to run the economy we want.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 24, 2011 11:33 AM
Comment #329734

C&J-
In the real world, you have two things: people with multiple goals in mind, and natural and human process with multiple layers and interactions going on at the same time.

So, while it might seem inelegant to you to have a garbage can people don’t have to touch, if what you’re trying to do is minimize the spread of infectious disease, well then it might not be so inelegant.

But to my mind, in this situation, they’re probably better off with one that has that old pedal. It serves basically the same purposes, but without the need for batteries or a complex motor and electronic system to break down. It might be a matter of wanting to seem in-style and modern.

Overall, I don’t see the need for them. But again, I’d emphasize that I don’t see a great deal of harm in them, either. I’m more concerned about the SUV somebody buys to seem stylish, than the electronic garbage can.

But your connection to the other kind of garbage kind, I think, is spurious. There, the utility of the can is greater than just the lifting of a lid. The cans take on greater capacity. They keep trash enclosed, rather than open for scavengers. Their electronics don’t merely do the work that a footpedal can duplicate at lower cost and greater energy efficiency. They also let the cities and municipalities move away from a regular schedule of trash pickup that pays no heed to whether the can is full or not, and lets them wait until the can has reached capacity.

If we’re talking an elegant use of technology, well then, here we have a point of comparison: the can in the airport is fairly unnecessary. The can you picture above, though, provides tangible benefits for its cost.

If you’re going to dump on green technology, dump with substance. I’m not going to accuse you of being too stupid to understand my arguments. I don’t argue with folks who I don’t think can understand what I’m saying. But I think in one case, you’re chasing a pretty minor modern annoyance, and misdirecting your discontent in the other case.

Kathryn-
Rare Earth elements is a bit of a misnomer. They’re comparable in concentration to Copper, Chromium, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Tungsten, and Molybdenum. It’s finding them concentrated, and then separating out these elements that’s the challenge.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 24, 2011 12:13 PM
Comment #329735

Stephen, You want real information, just look around Texas and you will see the information I am telling you. How many industrial facilities have the compactors you wrote about? How many restaurants have them? You will find your answer by opening you eyes and looking around and gettiong out of your dream world. As far as lumping moderates and liberals together is just a slick way of trying to win a point but like I said. NICE TRY it ain’t going to work.

Posted by: KAP at September 24, 2011 12:14 PM
Comment #329738

Stephen

I doubt the goal of disease control is valid. After all, people share seats, floor space, restaurants and bathrooms in exactly the same area. You are grasping at straws.

I will give you a way out. You can claim it is corporate, greedy people, who you can can “your people” who just want to tie more people into their web of useless dependence.

Re the solar version - I don’t think this is green technology. A green technology will perform similar tasks with LESS environmental impact and/or eliminate unnecessary tasks to avoid environmental impact. This technology adds complexity that requires MORE use of resources than the simpler previous solution.

Posted by: C&J at September 24, 2011 1:00 PM
Comment #329739

Re rare earth elements - you are right that they are not necessary rare, but they are hard to produce and their production is hard on the environment. That is why the production moved to China, where environmental protection is treated with less enthusiasm.

Nevertheless, their shortage and/or their control by China is a challenge.

Posted by: C&J at September 24, 2011 1:04 PM
Comment #329740

Do you want an excellent example of how to handle the trash. Look at Disney World in Orlando. And they did this decades ago. Way ahead of the curve.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at September 24, 2011 1:08 PM
Comment #329742

SD asks; ” Do the already profitable oil companies really need 90 billion dollars to incentivize what they’re doing?

$90 billion? Where did that figure come from?

“The total amount of earnings not collected in taxes (which liberals define as a “subsidy”) is about $4 billion per year. Just to re-cap a few pertinent features of these “subsidies” to oil companies that Obama wants to cut.

From the above, SD goes into all the reasons he believes subsidies to fossil fuel should be cut or reduced.

But…this is a man who has repeatedly written that he is a man committed to “facts”. Yet, when presented with a refutation of his “fact” of $90 billion, merely ignores it and switches to something else.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 24, 2011 2:13 PM
Comment #329748


Stephen, Royal, the companies receiving the subsidies/incentives made $90 Billion in profits, not $90 billion in subsidies.

In 2008, the IEA pronounced that to promote energy efficiency, the $557 billion in world wide subsidies to fossil fuels should be eliminated.

World energy consumption is expected to increase by 53% by the year 2035.

Americans have been well trained to consume. Choice and convenience have been hallmarks of our consumer society, not conservation. Compare the cost to society for personal transportation vs public transportation, then compare the convenience of the two. Before auto suburbs there were trolley car suburbs.

Trash cans that open automatically? How convient. In today’s highly competive market, trash can manufacurers must be inovative.

Posted by: jlw at September 24, 2011 4:31 PM
Comment #329749

jlw…I am not against ending subsidizes. But, I don’t want government to pick and choose who gets one and who loses one. End them all. That would not only save a bucket of money, but would reduce the K street lobbyist by about one half.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 24, 2011 4:46 PM
Comment #329756

KAP-
You and they are making this claim. Why should I have to go and prove a point you haven’t bothered to research? Somebody should be complaining about these things leaking, if they are, and if the compactor isn’t designed to deal with it. I shouldn’t have to prove a negative, you should have to deliver to us a set of facts that present the substance of a credible claim.

As for lumping moderates and liberals together? Well, to paraphrase President Obama, this isn’t a trick, this is math. Simply put, even at this great time for Conservative self identification, your ideological group is still a minority. 41% of any given group makes a majority nowhere. 59% of America identifies itself to your party’s left.

Am I wrong? Prove me wrong.

C&J-
Ah, a refuge in vagueness! While it’s a good idea to keep surfaces clean, not ever part spreads germs as well, or in the same way. We clean floors regularly, provide sanitary facilities, ask employees who deal with many customers to wash hands and use sanitizers.

But you know what the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs by contact is? Simple: prevent contact.

Airports are notorious as spreading centers for epidemics, for obvious reasons: people from all over the nation and the world bringing their germs to a nice, convenient location, from which those germs can spread to many others, in a way that a person just travelling from home to the office or school can’t.

It’s not the only thing that should be done, naturally, but doing nothing isn’t helpful in preventing the spread of disease.

You live in blessed times, where drugs, vaccines, and treatments exist to minimize the spread of disease. So, naturally, you don’t take preventing the spread of disease in such a way seriously. You judge from a position of comfort and safety.

Others make your same mistake, refusing to get vaccinated. Too many of them, and the people they interact with find out to their horror that one of the things that separate the world of today from the world of a century ago are the measures we’ve taken to reduce our exposure to pathogens.

Of course, the design of a trash can is a minor element, but with nonlinear events like the spread of a virus or bacteria, a minor element can have disproportionate consequences.

As for the question of the bigger trashcan, yes, it requires a bit more work up front, but it saves it on the other side. The energy cost of manufacturing it is a one-time event, and in that, a simple barrel might be cheaper and better. That barrel, though, will store less trash in about the the same place, will require regular trash pickup, since there is no way of knowing how full or empty it is. We have to use more people to do more work, at less efficiency. Those people don’t work for free, nor is it free to run those gigantic garbage trucks around town, visiting each and every trash-pick up site.

There might be places where the cost is not recouped. But seriously, that’s a hard data sort of objection to raise. If there’s no evidence things aren’t working as planned, then there’s no point to the objection. If what we have is you arguing that it won’t work, and the facts are saying it does work, that people don’t have real complaints about it, then why should we listen to your objections?

You can dish the patronizing talk to me, as if I’m the one losing this argument, or you can admit you didn’t have all the facts when you raised your objections, that you just started off a bunch of conjectures.

As for Rare Earth Elements, their production can be hard on the environment, but so can the production of oil, gas, and coal, and the rare earth elements mined can be used to generate energy not just now, but for as long as material is used and recycled. Coal, oil, and natural gas can only be used once. We’re literally burning up the things we went through such effort to attain.

So, the choice we have here is between Rare Earth Elements that can be used to create windmills and hybrid vehicles that save and create energy for years to come, and fossil fuels we can only use once to create energy.

As for why Production moved to China? Well, you posted something not too long ago about the price some villages are paying for the way they’re mining that stuff. You tell me: is that a sustainable practice? There will come a point, sooner or later, where the value of doing business so cheap will be overwhelmed by the need to maintain order against the outrage. Too many of China’s advantages come from the fact that they can treat their people like crap.

This is what you want to imitate. The real problem with the policy we have isn’t that we haven’t imitated China’s model, it’s that we’ve sold our dominance in many fields to them, and gotten nothing but richer rich people in our country for our troubles. It’s a great deal for them, but not for America in general. If we want to be really paranoid about it, it’s strategically impractical to put so many of our economic eggs in China’s basket, much less to pay for it by essentially endebting ourselves to them.

This is your policy at work. What we should have been doing has been strategically ensuring that we remained competitive, by preserving jobs here, and making the chinese work harder to compete with us, and to compete with drawing talent.

We had a mine going that gave us a competitive advantage on Rare Earth ores. Unfortunately, we closed that down to take advantage of China’s artificially low prices. Now we see the result. Why is it that this kind of free trade libertarianism always has us taking the position that is of least advantage to America and most of its population?

Royal Flush-
I think folks taking your position are going to look for any excuse they can to keep on paying the money. Does it matter that the standard you employ is a hypocritical double standard?

Look, the government should serve the public good. They’re not there for the sake of Exxon-Mobil, or even alternatively whatever green energy companies you could name. They’re there for the public as a whole. I have no objection to looking at the hard facts, and cutting funding for what doesn’t work. But if we’re going to be playing the energy subsidization game here, then let’s make a decision that leads us to a long term sustainable benefit for the public, not an addition to fuels which will only cost us more on different levels as time goes on.

We do not owe it to any one corporation out there to maintain their good fortunes forever, and the government should be writing policy with the whole of the country in mind, to promote the general welfare, as it says in the Constitution. There’s nothing in the constitution about keeping businesses and their owners profitable, regardless of what that does to our nation’s good fortunes. As Spock said on Star Trek, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 24, 2011 6:32 PM
Comment #329757

SD


“If they bore their own costs for finding…”“

If, If, If, If, If, Ho-Hum, dog-rabbit, ya, same ole crap.

How about what if not?

IF Beethoven’s mother aborted him I would probably have to listen to a nut job like Ravel more often.

Pre-suppositions come rather easily. Only IF some people would stop pretending. IF the person offers a bite of their apple and they liked the apple, then they could think like him IF they liked the apple. But, IF they didn’t like the apple or IF they spit out the bite, then you would have to convince them in a different manner IF they were still around and IF you didn’t get knock you on your arse. Otherwise IF you look at the clock and If you are tired of this, you could get permission to go to bed, IF you like.

Posted by: tom humes at September 24, 2011 6:32 PM
Comment #329759

Stephen

So among the priorities, which include bathroom doors, seats, restaurants and the inevitable personal contact, you think an electric garbage can is the answer?

The “non-linear” argument is always fun. It means you don’t need to prioritize or even think very much. Were you afraid of being hit by a piece of that satellite that fell to earth recently. After all, there was a chance of danger.

Re making fun of you because you are losing the argument - you lost when you waded in. You instinctively took a partisan line about an electric garbage can and took a partisan offense where non was offered. Look at the picture. How much do you think that holds. Now let me tell you about the garbage can in the airport. It is the same size as the others. The only difference is the electric door.

Re rare earth - you are picking a fight for no reason. Read what I wrote. The production of rare earth elements tends to be ecologically dirty. That is why it moved to China, because the Chinese care less about those sorts of things and produce cheaper - I think that is what you are trying to say too.

I do not want to become like China. These things are just true. You want to make a partisan statement out of everything. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Posted by: C&J at September 24, 2011 7:38 PM
Comment #329765

Just like Obama’s math is fuzzy so is yours. 20% is liberal and 35% moderate. Stephen, you can only lump the moderates with the liberals only if all the moderates vote with liberals which we both know they do not. So again NICE TRY!
Don’t you have garbage trucks and compactors is your part of Texas? Stephen I googled trash compactors and most of the sites have all sorts of them. Most of them show the type I’ve been explaining. Maybe you should try google once in awhile.

Posted by: KAP at September 25, 2011 12:02 AM
Comment #329774
only if all the moderates vote with liberals

Moderates overwhelmingly have left-of-center beliefs, which is why Obama won the 2008 election.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 25, 2011 12:02 PM
Comment #329780

Warped, Asked those moderates that voted for Obama in 2008 would do that now.

Posted by: KAP at September 25, 2011 2:38 PM
Comment #329781

Warped PS. as I stated earlier moderates tend to sway either way.

Posted by: KAP at September 25, 2011 2:43 PM
Comment #329791

tom humes-
Look, we’re talking policy alternatives here. If we’re better than just rubber stamps in the shape of people, we got to do some thinking, however much it offends some people.

I will ask “If-Then” questions to my hearts content, because I’m interested in seeing some good done. You have to game out the possibilities, if you want to figure out the best policies.

C&J-
I would think a hands-free trash can is useful. I don’t think an electric version is necessary.

I talk about non-linear relationships, because that’s climate in a nutshell for you. There isn’t going to be a graceful transition or plenty of warning if past climate records are taken for what they are.

As for the argument itself? You posted an item about green technology in the midst of a political blog. Worse yet, instead of offering actual evidence that the technology was failing, you speculated and conjectured a weakness in the technology, not bothering to offer real evidence that it did not work. Nor do you offer evidence that the economics didn’t work.

You came into the argument with a political bias hanging out in the breeze, whether you realize it or not, and your blog entry was going to be taken in a political sense whether you wrote it as such or not.

I didn’t take partisan offense, first and foremost. I took offense at my pragmatic, science and technology-oriented level of thinking. I am sick and tired of reading all about advances people are making in green technology in the science sources I read, and then coming over here to read the red column making ill-informed arguments about how it doesn’t work, how it’s not good enough yet.

There are ways to do things the right way. The China situation on Rare Earths isn’t merely a question of whether or not we get a cheap price, it’s about whether we get the raw material at all, because the talk from the Chinese is that they’re going to restrict exports from their minds, so they can keep all those nice, useful elements for their own manufacturers.

Tell me that makes any kind of strategic sense for us, militarily or economically.

Rare earths can be ecologically dirty, but that’s a matter of how you process them. It’s not a given that there has to be more pollution.

On the can in the picture, that can, because of it compacting function can hold five times what an equal sized trash container can. You wouldn’t know that because you didn’t properly researched the product. It’s not partisanship that makes my objections so strong, it’s the fact that I can’t even get you to do due diligence on researching the subjects that you then proceed to tell me you’re winning the argument on.

Nothing about how that style of compactor is designed to better contain liquids. No word about how network signals for pick-up, and having five times the capacity make it to where the device reduces emissions and labor costs for pickup. You’ve decided it’s a waste, and are trying to pin me like a butterfly with false comparisons.

It isn’t merely the fact that I want to win. I’ve backed off before other arguments before, when I didn’t feel there was a point defending them. But really, politics in my view often oversimplifies things, and I don’t have much desire to embrace such oversimplification.

KAP-
There’s no fuzzy math, Self-identified conservatives remain a minority. 41% is not a majority. Only some of those conservatives, though, are so strongly conservative as the Tea Partiers. A good number are Democrats.

Not all moderates vote with Liberals, but Republicans have taken great pains to push the ideologically moderate out of the party, calling them RINOs and everything. Just look at Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, and the pretenses those poor bastards maintain.

Republicans are doing everything they can to cut the politically impure center out, but even as they do, they find themselves unabel to gain office without that center.

So the fact that moderates could form majority coalitions with Democrats is something people like you should fear.

As for the trash compacters, I did google them. I was careful to narrow my search to the specific kind of trash compactor in question, rather than keep my search broad and generalized.

I find it very amusing when people treat me or scientists as if they’re too stupid to think of the different possibilities, or narrow things down. No, actually I don’t, but really, you shouldn’t assume that I haven’t done at least some of my homework before I make a claim.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 26, 2011 12:00 AM
Comment #329793

Stephen, “Not all moderates vote with liberals” First truthful statement you made. Republicans have their idiots like you democrats have yours who push the moderates out so that was a no brainer
“I was careful to narrow my search to a specific kind of trash compactor” That’s a good practice if you have a specific reason to narrow things down but if you are just looking for something to place everyday garbage in you go for the broad and generalized search.
I to find it amusing when people try to complicate a simple solution to a simple problem and write essays for a simple yes or no answer

Posted by: KAP at September 26, 2011 12:24 AM
Comment #329799

KAP-
The devil is in the details, often enough. Ignoring them doesn’t simplify things, it only leads you to deny the complexity that will confuse and confound your expectations.

That, or blind you to the true simplicities that actually exist.

Trash compactors exist that are engineered to better handle liquid wastes. This solar compactor design belongs to that class of trash compactors. In other words, the designers did not naively fail to deal with a problem that simple logic would tell them they might have to handle. It happens, but in this case, I haven’t come across complaints along those lines, despite widespread deployment.

Short of such evidence, the main question is whether the person commenting on those devices is inclined to give those machines the benefit of the doubt.

As for the last paragraph? If I had a dollar for every time somebody on the right felt that a problem had a simple solution, and it turned out it didn’t, I’d be a rich man. I will write what I feel I have to write to address an issue properly. Too many yes or no questions are just misleading in their alternatives. C&J lumped two different technologies in together with only superficial concern for what each device respresented.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 26, 2011 11:19 AM
Comment #329800

Stephen, The point is people are looking for simple inexpensive solutions to everyday things. When you put automatic openers on trash cans is a bit much. Now auto turn on hand driers in wash rooms was a good idea, hands under turn on take hands away turns off saves energy and is sanitary.
Your last paragraph, if I had a nickle for every time someone complicated a simple problem I’d be a billionair.

Posted by: KAP at September 26, 2011 11:40 AM
Comment #329801

PS, Stephen the auto flushers was a good idea to.

Posted by: KAP at September 26, 2011 11:54 AM
Comment #329805

KAP-
Well, if you consider all the costs, not just the cost for the solar compactors, the trash compactors might be the more reasonable choice, especially if you have folks breathing down your neck for budget cuts.

It’s the same way we should consider all the costs for running our country on oil, rather than merely the cost at the gas pump. You could be doing something better for that money.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 26, 2011 3:51 PM
Comment #329806

Stephen, Like I stated on the blue side. When aternative sources become readily avaliable and abundant and inexpensive then we can talk, til then we are stuck with oil.

Posted by: KAP at September 26, 2011 4:09 PM
Comment #329808
When aternative sources become readily avaliable and abundant and inexpensive then we can talk,

Alternatives are already cheaper and more abundant than oil.

The reason the nominal price for fossil fuels appears to less is because we subsidize those fossil fuels, both directly and indirectly. In addition to government subsidies and tax breaks, the fossil fuel extraction industry also benefits from their ability to externalize the costs associated with hydrocarbon combustion. Also, government investments in transportation infrastructure is heavily skewed towards modes that consume fossil fuels. Lastly, our foreign policy has been increasingly been influenced by the need to obtain cheap sources of oil, but the price of those military expenditures is not borne at the pump.

If renewable and fossil fuels competed on an even playing field, the renewable energy sources would win hands down.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 26, 2011 7:28 PM
Comment #329810

Stephen

I understand non-linear transitions and phase transitions. We understand they exist and are important, but you are not properly applying it. What you are essentially saying is that since we are uncertain about some things, your formulation - or any formulation - is as good as all others. You still have to go with the odds when making choices. It could be that you win the lottery tomorrow, but even if you do a strategy of basing your retirement income on lottery tickets still was not a good one.

Re our trash can example - neither of us has done research on the trash can. I suspect that neither did those who installed them. They look about the same size as other trash cans. You want to assume that those who bought and installed these things did complete and correct research. What in your experience with government, or with any large organization, leads you to believe this?

Re the one in the airport - this can is exactly like the others and its only feature that is different is the electric door. You can believe in hands-free everything, but why would you choose this means and this thing to do first? What research do you have to know that this should be a priority?

And I repeat again that you are the one making this political. I just saw what on the basis of observation seems a wasteful use of energy. I don’t know if the inventor is Republican or Democrat.

Re your scientific background - there is a lon g path from the lab to the innovation to the consumers. Many people who think they are scientists fail to understand this. It often takes decades or more from the time of “discovery” until somebody figures out how to really make it work and sometimes - most of the time - the discoveries fail to pan out.

I ask you to do something that will help you a lot. Go back to science magazines from 1970 or 1980. Take a look at all the innovations that were - according to the authors - about to take hold. Ask yourself how many really worked as advocated and how many - based on what we know now - would have been a terrible idea to deploy. Consider the synfuels idea, which was supposed to - among other things - create gasoline from coal. It is indeed possible to do that. Would you be content if that had been done?

I really don’t want to keep on beating you up about this. I used to be more like you and I still love the idea of innovation and science. But I recognize how hard it is to make things really work. I also know that many people are working hard - often because of “greed” to bring innovations to market. When they fail to do so according to your time table it is usually because they cannot figure out how to make them work in the real world or on a sufficiently vast scale. If you can do these things, I suggest you do and make a pile of money, that you can - of course - give to charity.

Posted by: C&J at September 26, 2011 7:34 PM
Comment #329812

Warped, What renewable energy sources are abundant, cheap and readily avaliable, besides solar and solar ain’t cheap?

Posted by: KAP at September 26, 2011 8:22 PM
Comment #329819
solar ain’t cheap

When you take away the government subsidies, solar is much cheaper than fossil fuels.

Also, nuclear fission is pretty abundant and cheap as well.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 26, 2011 11:58 PM
Comment #329820

One more thing:

Increased conservation is the most effective, most cheap and most readily available too we have. Imagine how much money we would save if we reversed suburbanization and went back to the dichotomy of urban/rural densities. Most Americans would not have any need for a personal automobile because the dense population would allow for effect mass transit. If only the government stopped subsidizing the suburban lifestyle.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 27, 2011 12:17 AM
Comment #329821

Warped, Can you operate a car on solar or nuclear? Maybe solar in say 30 years or so, nuclear never. Like I said when renewable fuels get abundant, reliable and cheap we are stuck with oil.

Posted by: KAP at September 27, 2011 12:22 AM
Comment #329822
Can you operate a car on solar or nuclear?

Can you operate a horse on solar or nuclear?

Personal automobiles probably won’t have a place in tomorrow’s economy unless someone comes up with cheaper, longer lasting hydrogen fuel cells or batteries.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 27, 2011 1:22 AM
Comment #329826

Warped, SO back to the point, WE NEED OIL until these things come about. Like I said when renewable energy sources become reliable, abundant, and cheap we are stuck with oil for now.

Posted by: KAP at September 27, 2011 9:33 AM
Comment #329829
SO back to the point, WE NEED OIL until these things come about.

Oil and fossil fuels will remain relevant sources only if the market demands it.

Posted by: Warped Reality at September 27, 2011 12:32 PM
Comment #329871

KAP-
The thing I would tell you is that most technologies don’t just flat replace the ones that came before them. Computer coexisted with typewriters for quite some time before one finally replaced the other for most people.

This isn’t handing off the baton in a relay race, it’s the diffusion of an innovation. If we get ahead of the game, we can be the ones who sell the product, rather than the ones who are sold it.

We don’t need oil, we need the energy it transfers to mechanical motion. We already have a consumer vehicle out there that plugs into the grid, and only uses gasoline to generate electricity when the batteries are depleted. If you run the vehicle less than forty miles on a charge, your vehicle will burn no gasoline. That’s the Chevy Volt for you.

Now solar cars have been demonstrated, but they’re kind of unwieldy. However, if you have solar panels on your house, well some of your current can come from the solar panels, so there you go. As for Nuclear? Again, all you need is the energy to run an engine, so theoretically, you could use some sort of thermoelectric source, where the heat from the nuclear source is directly converted to electricity. I don’t know the particulars on that, but let me just throw that one out.

We need oil because our car’s engines are designed to run on petroleum-based gasoline, not because oil is the only conceiveable energy source.

The only thing that has us stuck on gasoline-run internal combustion engines is our lack of imagination.

C&J-
We can’t stop what we’re doing right now with fossil fuels quickly, and we already have good evidence that our carbon emissions are causing us harm in the long term. Why are we waiting to do something?

We can’t reverse this climate change, once we get to a certain stage in the problem’s development. Why are we risking getting stuck with the worst-case scenario for climate change?

Climate change will be quick and chaotic, judging from paleoclimate records, so by the time things get unquestionably screwed up, the change might already be baked in.

So why vacillate? Why tempt fate by letting the problem continue to build up to it’s critical threshold, to the point where the change is going to take place regardless of what we do? Why not be on the safer side of this risk?

Re our trash can example - neither of us has done research on the trash can.

Speak for yourself. I immediately went and looked at both the electric garbage cans, and the solar compactors. I based my sentiments on what I learned.

You can believe in hands-free everything, but why would you choose this means and this thing to do first? What research do you have to know that this should be a priority?

I’ve read up on infectious diseases before. I’ve also worked in a restaurant environment where we were called upon to follow HACCP procedures in dealing with food. There’s a reason employees in food services are called upon to wash their hands when they use the restroom, when they handle food, and that they often also wear gloves. I had to, myself. I served everything from pizza to Mexican food to ice cream.

Hands are among the chief vectors for germs, whether it’s hand to hand contact, or hand to contaminated surface contact. Hands come in contact with all kinds of different body parts, different animals, and different surfaces. So, what you can do to minimize the contact of large numbers of people with each other, or surfaces they may contaminate can be helpful.

I don’t believe in hands free everything, but I do believe that there are certain places where minimizing mutual contact is a good idea. Plus, it has the virtue of being a method that keeps the horses in the barn, rather than waiting until they’ve exited the barn to close the doors.

And I repeat again that you are the one making this political. I just saw what on the basis of observation seems a wasteful use of energy.

Did you bother to do research on the actual systems in question? Did you compare the amount of energy the motor used to lift the lid used, in comparison to other wastes of energy. Did you find out how many units are out there?

Same with the solar compactors. Did you research them before you wrote up the article, and staked yourself on a position?

As for this being political, you posted this on a political site, right after making a political claim about other green technology. If it wasn’t political, what is the article doing here?

Re your scientific background - there is a lon g path from the lab to the innovation to the consumers…

Oh, I’m well aware of it. Even now, I keep tabs on science magazines and publications on technology. So what I know is this: A lot of ideas and technologies are going to get knocked down, so it’s important to take the risk and try lots of things. Modern energy companies spend pathetically small amounts of money on researching energy. They’re too satisfied with the status quo.

If government doesn’t step up, there might not be an alternative quick enough to avoid the economic results of failing to make the advances in good time. Greed can motivate innovation, but it can also motivate stagnation, and todays energy companies are very invested in the market’s stagnation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 28, 2011 1:38 PM
Comment #329873

Stephen, Our lack of imagination is NOT the problem, POLITICIANS are the problem. As I said in another post, there was a carburator invented that would increase gas mileage in the internal combustion engine up to 100 miles per gallon. A turbine engine that would burn anything combustable and a person could stand behind it’s exhaust without being hurt. This was when I was still watching the Mickey Mouse club and drewling over Annette. I am sure there are other advances that have been bought off by the oil industry or politicians attached to the oil industries purse strings and that includes both Democrat and Republican. So like I said we are dependent on oil until other sources become plentiful, readily avaliable and cheap. When that comes about you and Warped will be my age.

Posted by: KAP at September 28, 2011 2:23 PM
Comment #329877

KAP-
The 100 MPG carburetor is a myth. There’s not enough energy in gasoline to increase the efficiency of a car engine that much.

Like I’ve said, the time to branch off into a new technology is while the old technology provides you with an economic cushion. By reducing demand, by the way, energy efficiency and alternative energy sources will help make gasoline cheaper. One reason it got cheaper recently is that the lack of economic activity made it unnecessary to transport things. Instant demand drop.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 28, 2011 3:54 PM
Comment #329883

Stephen, It may or may not be a myth but MPG’s have come a long way in the Int. Com. Eng. going from 12mpg in the 50’s to almost 40mpg now. and cleaner. I agree we need to branch off into new technology.

Posted by: KAP at September 28, 2011 6:00 PM
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