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[P]
World's largest oil reserve

By MSBob in Technology
Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:09:59 AM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

Technically speaking the Middle East is not the largest oil reserve in the world. In fact the largest oil deposits are very close to the United States of America. They lie north of the border.


The largest oil reserve in the world lies within the Canadian province of Alberta in the so called "Alberta tar sands".

Tar sands are grains of sand or, in some cases, porous carbonate rocks that are intimately mixed with a very heavy, asphalt-like crude oil called bitumen. The bitumen is much too viscous to be recovered by traditional petroleum recovery techniques. Tar sands contain about 10-15% bitumen, the remainder being sand or other inorganic materials.

If tar sand is heated to about 80 °C, by injecting steam into the deposit in a manner analogous to that of enhanced oil recovery, the elevated temperature causes a decrease in the viscosity of the bitumen just enough to allow its pumping to the surface. Alternatively, it is sometimes easier to mine the tar sand as a solid material. When the mined tar sand is mixed with steam and hot water, the bitumen will float on the water while the sand sinks to the bottom of the container, allowing for easy separation. Heating the bitumen above 500 °C converts about 70% of it to a synthetic crude oil. Distilling this oil gives good yields of kerosene and other liquid products in the middle distillate range. The remainder of the bitumen either thermally cracks to form gaseous products or reacts to form petroleum coke.

If tar sands are so good why don't we hear about them more? Two reasons: energy and greed. Unfortunately it costs around $14 to extract a single barrel of oil from tar sands while recovering the same barrel from a typical light crude oil well costs less than $2 per barrel. These costs are almost directly linked to higher energy requirements in the exploration of bitumen oil.

It's not difficult to see which fields oil companies are more interested in developing. There is some interest in the oil sands but its full scale development wages on the assumption that the average price per barrel stays above $15. If oil prices drop below that level oil sands exploration isn't commercially viable.

Long term however, the light crude reserves aren't getting any bigger and the world will (hopefully) need energy in the centuries to come. The amount of oil contained in the tar sands around the world (there are deposits outside of Canada mostly in the former Soviet Union) is estimated at roughly three times the amount of light crude reserves. Those figures are based on known reserves however. There are many places such as Antarctica where large deposits of light crude may exist that we don't yet know about. If such reserves are found, it will obviously undermine the importance of tar sands for another century or two.

For the time being, tar sands represent a viable alternative to light crude exploration. There are presently extracted at the rate of around 200,000 barrels per day (applies to Alberta only) but the plans are being laid out to significantly increase production to aroung 600,000 barrels within the next decade. If those plans work out, tar sands will account for a very significant fraction of Canada's oil production output levels which stand at around 2.2 million barrels per day (2001 estimate).

The vast majority of Canada's oil is sold to the United States. In fact Canada is the biggest supplier of oil for the United States. Approximately 1.8 million barrels of Canadian oil are bought by the States every day. This is more than even the imports from Saudi Arabia which are presently at around 1.5 million barrels. This means that Canadian oil is very significant to the US energy security and will remain so for the forseeable future, regardless of how much George Bush and Jean Chretien may despise one another. The tar sands are likely to play an increasing role in the energy markets as crude reserves are depleted. It's only a matter of economic viability. But don't believe those who tell you that we need to switch to solar power because we're out of oil Any Day Now.

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Sexiest source of oil
o Light crude 20%
o Heavy crude 12%
o Bitumen 14%
o iRaq of course, whatever it is they have 51%

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Display: Sort:
World's largest oil reserve | 392 comments (358 topical, 34 editorial, 0 hidden)
Excellent article (4.33 / 3) (#5)
by tokugawa on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 08:40:58 PM EST

Short, but sweetly informative.

Those who argue that the world will soon run out of oil reserves and therefore we should promote alternative energy sources are doing themselves a disfavour: the debate is then purely formed in the context of resource economics rather than the bigger ecological picture.

Regardless, oil is a non-renewable energy source (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by Kasreyn on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 10:46:55 PM EST

Whether the end of our obtainable oil reserves is 30 years away or 300 years away, it is coming. It would behoove our race to show some foresight for once, and listen to the people trying to warn us. Imagine how great it would be if we had alternate fuel sources already deployed 50 years BEFORE the oil runs out. That might actually be proof that we deserve the title "homo sapiens".


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Oil supply theory (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by MSBob on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:26:40 PM EST

There is a 'law' by some big oil baron that the world always stays at around 40 years worth of supply within known reserves. Once that date approaches a wee bit closer, oil and gas companies invest heavily in R&D to conduct more geological surveying in order to find enough reserves for another 40 year buffer.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
That does not invalidate the original comment. (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:03:19 AM EST

The resource is finite, sooner or later it will dry out.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Later rather than sooner [nt] (none / 0) (#73)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:20:36 AM EST


I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#389)
by ajduk on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:12:28 AM EST

Tell me the last year when we found more than was produced..

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#44)
by coryking on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:34:22 PM EST

You didn't even read the comment. Environmentalists, and "we are going to run out of oil in 2 years" people should all take an economics class someday.

The world will *never* run out of oil because the last drop will cost millions. Course, thats just a running joke and is pretty irrelivant to our discussion, but it's true.

You will see more investment in other energy when it becomes cheaper to develop and purchase alternatives then just consume more oil. Thankfully (or sadly), we have not hit this point yet. People who thing some day we will see on the news "And in other news, we are out of oil - start looting NOW!" are the same idiots who though that anarchy would break out on Jan 1, 2000. Besides, what makes you think people are not already researching alternatives?

[ Parent ]

And YOU didn't read ME. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by Kasreyn on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:12:37 AM EST

I said, "obtainable". If it costs millions per drop for the last bit of oil, I consider that to be pretty damn useless and thus unobtainable. I'm aware the world will never "run out of oil". I'm saying it will run out of oil we can GET to, i.e. oil that is close enough to the surface and placed in such a way that we can actually extract it. Since it takes millions of years for dead plant matter to convert into hydrocarbons, we will eventually outstrip the planet's ability to replenish the amount that is available. Plain and simple, there WILL come a date when there is no oil left to extract that we can actually get to in a profitable manner. And at that point, we will see whether our race had foresight (i.e., had alternate fuel sources lined up and ready), or was ignorant and stupid (did not).

Besides, burning fossil fuels pollutes the environment. It may not be profitable to be "green", therefore corporations won't spend R&D money on it (except for PR purposes), but I still think, if you give any average Joe the choice, he'd rather breathe clean air. That's another reason to find alternative sources of energy.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
but if it's 300 years there's no rush (none / 0) (#121)
by Delirium on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:43:39 AM EST

If the reserves will last 300 years, there's no reason to really rush any development. Technology advances, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, so something will likely come along in the next 250 years. If not, we can start investing heavily then, when we're pretty sure we actually are close to exhausting the reserves.

[ Parent ]
"Whether [...] 30 or 300 years away ..." (none / 0) (#138)
by nusuth on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:24:06 AM EST

That is not valid. It is not as if you are talking about 300 years or 3000 years (SEP), or 3 months or 3 years (our problem both ways.) I can list many disasters which will happen sooner or later (thermal death of universe, sun going nova, an asteroid crash size of Texas, magnetic pole reversal, oil running out, SARS...) but some not exactly impending. If we try to solve them all at once we can't solve any.

[ Parent ]
Who says it's non-renewable? (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:10:48 PM EST

This is the same bullshit we've been hearing for 100 years, and the truth is no one is even sure how oil is formed geologically. One of the most interesting theories I've read, is that oil is generated by a truly immense layer of bacteria somewhere in the mantle(can't remember exactly, but on the order of 15-100 miles deep). It's bacteria poop... and they're still pooping. Every so often, a geological process brings a pool of it closer to the surface.

Other than being a potential plot for a new X-Files movie, what does this have going for it? Well, there  have been more than a few cases of previously dry wells re-filling with petroleum. And unless some dinosaur or 350 million yr old fern tree crawled into the well when no one was looking, how do you explain this?

Mind you, I'm all for some extremely aggressive legislation to push fusion research.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

hmm. (none / 0) (#248)
by joshsisk on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:27:06 PM EST

there  have been more than a few cases of previously dry wells re-filling with petroleum. And unless some dinosaur or 350 million yr old fern tree crawled into the well when no one was looking, how do you explain this?

Seepage from another pocket that is located a little to the left or right seems a bit more likely.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

In at least a few of the cases... (none / 0) (#253)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:43:16 PM EST

That has already been taken into account. Besides, don't you think that if your million dollar oil well runs dry, and you can have more simply by drilling 500 yds to the south, that most oil companies would have thought of this, or even discovered it during the initial survey?

It definitely did seep from somewhere though.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Not at all (none / 0) (#296)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:36:00 PM EST

9 out of ten drills are dry. It's a fact. Ask any oil exploration company. Most wells drilled are dry. The seismic interpretation doesn't show you what lies beneath the crust, only what seismic interpreters think lies there. Guessing where the oil catchment areas might be located is mostly just that although there is some software that can help you make it more accurate. Or you can simply stick with basic seismic interpretation software. In reality however we only know about oil deposits with a certain probability level. It's quite far from accurate science and any analysis is only as accurate as those who do the analysis and even then results are far from guaranteed.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
why does it have to be 500 yards to the South? (none / 0) (#339)
by joshsisk on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 01:40:14 PM EST

There could be a crevice connecting two pockets that are miles apart. I'm sure, also, that often two pockets of oil that are owned by different people are connected in such ways.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Oil is Not a Fossil Fuel ? (none / 0) (#293)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:07:55 PM EST

The "Father" of the bacteria-not-ancient-plants theory of oil creation is Thomas Gold. He has written a lot and been written about a lot in the last 40 years. Here's one article from Wired that looks pretty decent. I personally have no idea if he's right. Could be that the oil comes from the Oil Fairy, for all I know. But Thomas Gold is the guy to read if you want to learn about the bacteria theory.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
Why this should not be exploited yet (none / 0) (#325)
by ph0t05ynth on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:49:51 AM EST

Whether or not bacteria are creating the oil in the first place, genetically engineered bacteria available at some point in the future have a better shot at efficiently refining or distilling a fuel from difficult sources than the brute force methods used today. That, I believe, is where the research should be concentrated, because it is likely to produce the greatest energy savings.

Consider all of the alcohol that is produced for gasohol, and the energy cost of distilling it. If you find a way to skip the distillation step entirely, the ecological impact of producing fuel alcohol would be drastically reduced. For instance, consider a genetically engineered yeast cell that sticks to neighboring cells so as to form a wall in the middle of a tank, assisted by a culturing net as a framework. If the yeast cells release alcohol only on one side of the tank, through careful vacuole orientation, in time that side of the tank would contain 100% pure alcohol. No heat is expended to evaporate anything.

A similar approach could be used for other liquid fuels, including ones that are gritty or mixed in with undesired gunk like tar sands are.

[ Parent ]

Rubbish (none / 0) (#388)
by ajduk on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:02:24 AM EST

a) Oil has been fully geochenically tied to it's source rocks since some of the geochemical advances in the early 1990s.

b) Oil is unstable at temperatures of >150C in the presence of metal oxides.  There are a lot of metal oxides in the crust.

c) The earth's crust is not only impermeable but ductile below around 10-20km.  Bringing the stuff up would be well-nigh impossable.

d) Oil accumulations are only found where source/carrier/trap systems exist.  Were this theory true, there would be no need for source rocks.

e) The mantle oxidation state shows that Carbon Dioxide is the stable state for carbon in the mantle, and has been for >2.5Ga.

f) If you shut down any ageing oil well for a while (a year or so), you will get a temporarily increased flow when you re-open it.  This is because of redistribution of oil within the reservoir.

g) If oil were coming up at the current rate of extraction, oil seeps would have had to amount to at least 75 million barrels a day prior to 1860.  That's 150 supergiant tanker spills every day.  People would have noticed.

h) Thomas Gold (who's theory this is) dosen't know the first thing about even basic geology, at least by looking at his web site.

[ Parent ]

Not anymore (none / 0) (#291)
by dennis on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:57:57 PM EST

Oil is renewable.

[ Parent ]
Running out of oil.... (none / 0) (#223)
by phlux on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:52:53 PM EST

This is purely conjecture - so take your grain of salt;

I wonder if the projections about us running out of oil (which have also been studied on and reported by various oil entities) may be based on us running out of oil that is cheap to produce.

Not actually the planet having no oil left.

The oil fields like the tar sands where the oil is too expensive to extract and process may end up sitting there for a long time. If the oil industry can find a way to make a fuel as profitable as oil - then they really don't care what the actual fuel is.

I think this might be the impetus behind what George bush said in the state of the union. He stated that a person born today should be able to go in and purchase their first car by the time they are 16 and have it be a zero emission hydrogen vehicle.

Well - that gives the oil industry 16 years to find out how to make that a profitable endeavor.

So what I was thinking they may be trying to do is to get the hydrogen vehicle re-fueling costs to be on par with oil. Even though there are massive amounts of hydrogen on earth - they will sell the idea to us under some lie like:

"Well the hydrogen is very abundant - that's true - but its very expensive to process from (say water) and bottle and distribute"

This means that by the time you have a hydrogen car - even though it will be environmentally friendly - it will still cost you an arm and a leg based on the patented expensive process that has been developed to maintain profit margins.

They could give a shit about the environmental impact - that just happens to be a positive side effect which they will look to exploit to maximum.

Now that we have the Iraqi oil under our control we can now use that oil to squeeze out the last bit of high profit on easily extracted oil while developing the distribution and all related infrastructure and technology for the replacement of oil but something even more abundant - and just (if not more) profitable!!

The other important aspect of this theory is that guess who is going to fund most of the research into the development of alternative fuel sources. Well it sure as hell aint the oil industry - but their cronies in office. The good ol taxpayer will fund it.


[ Parent ]

We still get screwed on oil. (2.50 / 4) (#7)
by sanjiseigen on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 08:49:59 PM EST

Despite living in Alberta, people still have to pay the same price as the rest of Canada for gasoline. This comes despite the fact that we extract the oil, refine it, and produce gasoline. I'm not familiar with this history, but I'm sure there's some way I can blame this on the Liberal pinheads in federal office (headed by dear old Jean).

True (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by MSBob on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 08:52:50 PM EST

If Alberta were a country of its own it would be the richest country on earth measured in per-capita GDP. Even with the federal government sucking some of your surplus in taxes you have it pretty well out there. So quit yer whining!
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
That's what Alberta does.. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by DominantParadigm on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:55:08 PM EST

Bitches and moans while being one of the richest regions on Earth.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Agreed. (none / 0) (#26)
by ti dave on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 10:18:08 PM EST

Typically Canadian attitude.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Your analogy fails (none / 0) (#27)
by DominantParadigm on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 10:22:41 PM EST

Alberta is much richer than the Eastern provinces.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Irrelevant. (none / 0) (#32)
by ti dave on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 10:37:34 PM EST

Your Socialist Worker's Paradise will ensure that the wealth is re-distributed in a fair and equitable manner.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

glad to know (none / 0) (#33)
by DominantParadigm on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 10:42:10 PM EST

that you still haven't purchased a brain.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
damn right wingers (4.00 / 3) (#52)
by Subtillus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:31:01 AM EST

Go vote for Stockwell Day again, see how far it gets you!

If you can't talk some sense, the rest of us are just going to keep electing Jean until he dies and we have to resurrect him so he can run the country as a zombie.

[ Parent ]

nit... (none / 0) (#165)
by spec on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:08:44 AM EST

I think you mean Stephen Harper

[ Parent ]
No Nit (none / 0) (#227)
by Subtillus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:59:18 PM EST

My comment wasn't about voting for Stockwell, but about voting for people like Stockwell. Regardless of whether or not Harper took it, or whether or not Manley or Martin takes the liberals.

If the west keep voting for the party that alienates the rest of the country they'll never get anything done.

[ Parent ]

I'll drink to that (none / 0) (#243)
by DominantParadigm on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:09:51 PM EST

Is if Albertans think that the rest of the country will take right-wing fascist Christians seriously.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
stockwell (none / 0) (#197)
by calimehtar on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:43:48 PM EST

Stockwell may have been politically naive, and affiliated with a rather offensive political party, but the man himself is pretty cool.

He promised a referendum on the legalization of marijuana openly addmitted to using it when he was younger unlike some other, less Canadian politicians I could mention and conducted a press conference on a sea-doo. But then maybe I'm just biased -- I went to school with one of his sons and he spoke at my graduation.



[ Parent ]
If he'd won (none / 0) (#264)
by Miniluv on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:46:39 PM EST

We'd all get to call him Doris.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]
true to a certain respect (none / 0) (#96)
by metalgeek on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:15:56 AM EST

This is true to a certain respect, we do whine alot because alot of our money gets taken away by the government. and I actually don't mind it very much, as do most people here. The vast majority of albertans have no problem with alberta helping the rest of Canada be rich, what we object to is that even though we contribute a large quantity of Canada's wealth, we have very little say in anything having to do with it.
It's kinda like all those child actors whose parents wasted all there money. Yeah there spoilled brats, but then again it is there money, and someone else wasted it.


"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Oil producers don't always have cheap oil... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by your corporate master on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:27:17 PM EST

It could be worse. You could live in Nigeria:
Few things underscore the decay of Nigeria more than the absurdity of queues stretching over a kilometre (half a mile) at petrol stations in the world's eighth largest oil producer.

[ Parent ]
Opportunity Cost (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by Silverfish on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:53:42 PM EST

The only thing you can save on is transportation costs, since refining costs and taxes are uniform everywhere in the country.  Transportation costs are not insignificant, but it's not like the gas would be free.  The real truth of the matter is that oil companies are probably just pocketing that saved money.

They're in it to make money, and if they could get away with it, they'd charge $10/gallon.

Gas was over $2/gallon until the oil companies released financial statements indicating their earnings and profit went through the roof for the previous quarter and then suddenly somehow gas got cheaper.  It's a amzing what a little public outrage will do.

[ Parent ]

Sorry for the misleading title above (none / 0) (#25)
by Silverfish on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:56:19 PM EST

Sorry for the misleading title of the above comment.  I had a whole big thing about opportunity cost in my comment above, but deleted it in the interest of brevity.  Guess that's what I get for not previewing first...

[ Parent ]
Dumb (4.33 / 3) (#99)
by Nucleus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:29:38 AM EST

"We".. Do you work for the oil companies, how does this affect you and what makes the people in Alberta so special they deserve cheap oil...

Individuals who get payed an hourly wage or salary like the rest of the country to do a job should not receive cheap oil just because they live in Alberta... the whole notion is just plain dumb. Canadians shouldn't have to move to Alberta just so they can reap the benefits of the oil either. So the alternative is to share it. That said, Trudeaus National Energy Program was a great idea.

The problem is you have a few dozen people running the oil companies, who, despite Kyoto and the national energy program are still making millions and have convinced the majority of Albertans such as yourself that you've been screwed and its the Liberals to blame.

Nobody was screwed. I have little sympathy for the Alberta oil companies and there constant bitching. The only people that will be screwed are the people of Alberta, and the rest of Canada for that matter, if they hand over their oil to corporations and let all that money fall into the hands of a few executives.

Why do you want all that money going to them? Why not have that money go to causes that will improve your life directly. Free Universtiy, health care, etc?..

I'll tell you why.. the conservative owned media, a "few" dozen or so people who run the corporations alongside the Canadian Alliance, and their religous nutball predecesor the Reform Party with Preston Manning, all in bed with the Americans, have brainwashed the majority of the public into being their corporate whores and a bunch of religous nutballs...Albertans alongside the Canadian Alliance are just a bunch of "Stupid Canadians".

Ask yourself why there is so much American propaganda coming out of Alberta? Religous and Corporate Crap... considering provinces have control over their resources all they have to do is keep up the propaganda and convince the public they are being screwed. Americans are invading Alberta and taking the oil just like Iraq and they don't care about you or giving you cheap oil.

Socialism for needs, capitalism for wants
[ Parent ]

bah (none / 0) (#104)
by metalgeek on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:39:24 AM EST

You're an eastern Canadian, who is a lifelong voter for either the liberal's or the NDP, thinks paul martin is too conservitive, and wonder how does that damn klien keep getting elected.
I'm sorry but it's not corporations telling us what to think, it's people out here who lived the the NEP, and saw the albertan economy crash because some liberal from out east decided that because alberta had money and no one else did, that then no one should have money. IT took out provinces econmy over 10 years to recover from that.
it's the feeling of constantly getting screwed over by the liberals, who, when we tried to bring is private clinics along side public, just like ontario already has, the liberals threatened to cut of out money for healthcare.
it's sitting and watching the tv every 4 years, finding out that by the time the elections are over in ontario, our government is already decided for us.
western alienation is a real thing, not some media and corporate hyped up concept trying to get breaks from the government


"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
I have no sympathy (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by Dest on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:53:10 AM EST

Try living in a city where the unemployment rate rarely drops below 20%. Try living in a city where the population is aging more rapidly than anywhere else due to the fact that anyone under the age of 25 can't afford to stay there because there are no jobs to be had: It's either move away, or welfare. Try living in a city where the cancer rate is the highest in the country but the encology department at the local hospital was, until very recently, an utter utter joke. Then come back and bitch about a shitty economy. We have no jobs, people dying due to environmental pollution perpetrated by Montreal and Toronto-owned companies, and then finally the federal government. We joined confederation reluctantly -- so reluctantly in fact that part of our agreement states that we are allowed to leave at any time no questions asked. We were screwed over by the federal government due to tariffs and other protectionist moves that only hurt us. We were told we'd be subsidised to make up for the tarriffs, and then just pushed aside while our resources were stripped away.

Do we want to leave? No. We still believe in Canada. It's aggrivating to see that, after all we've been through, we still love our country only to have provinces like Alberta and Quebec bitch and moan constantly about being part of the country. It makes me sick. Our government is decided in Ontario as much as yours is. The economic pulse of the country as far as the government is concerned is the golden corridor in Ontario. What do we do? We seek to have the government fix these deficiencies. We don't say we're taking our province and going home, acting like a spoiled 5 year old child. We seek a compromise. That is the proper thing to do. That is the canadian thing to do.

----
Dest

"Bah. You have no taste, you won't be getting better than tofurkey bukkake." -- Ni
[ Parent ]

double bah (none / 0) (#166)
by vaalrus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:11:47 AM EST

I am a Western Canadian. Born and bred. And I'm unconvinced by your arguments. Whart screwed up our economy for so long was NOT the NEP, although that did disrupt some investment capital. (and yeah, words chosen in a poor attempt at dry massive understatement) It was the simultaneous crash of world oil prices, whid did not recover for many years. I remember the eary '80's very vividly, as my family was one of those caught the massive interest rate hikes and lost our home, and a million dollar Oilfield construction company. I was in the middle of high school and saw my University fund vanish into vaccuum, let alone thin air, as oil prices fell from $55 to $40 to then $15 dollars/bbl (U$) Some other Oil notes: Canada imports about 2/3 to 3/4 as much oil as we export. In effect "swapping" heavy Western Crude for light crude for use in Eastern Canada, who's refinery base is not up to handling our heavy oil. I've been searching, on and off, for over a year looking for specifics on what the "mean nasty" NEP did to our economy, and all I can find is conservative rhetoric on how evil it was, and not any actual details.
--------- All my bits are belong to me.
[ Parent ]
Location (none / 0) (#175)
by davidduncanscott on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:32:57 AM EST

what makes the people in Alberta so special they deserve cheap oil...
Probably the same thing that makes Marylanders so special that we get blue crab cheaper than people in South Dakota. I hear that in Florida oranges just grow on trees, in spite of the obvious injustice to the people of Wisconsin.

[ Parent ]
Oil is different (none / 0) (#383)
by Nucleus on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 01:51:12 PM EST

You can grow apples then or catch fish, you can find oil where it doesn't exist.

Socialism for needs, capitalism for wants
[ Parent ]

Different how? (none / 0) (#385)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 10:42:08 PM EST

Oil is a source of energy, just as crab is a source of food and oranges of vitamin C and screwdrivers. Areas that lack oil can go solar, use biomass, or build nuclear power plants. That they don't generally do so is a reflection of oil's convenience, not some basic necessity of petroleum. Oil is cheap, so we all use it, but that doesn't mean that we all somehow deserve cheap oil.

[ Parent ]
well down here we blame it on greedy capitalists (none / 0) (#158)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:57:09 AM EST

the refinery across the river that makes the park smell so bad a few times a month, well, we are all still paying 1.50-1.70 / gallon for gasoline. in the middle-USA. but we dont blame liberals in power... because we have no liberals in power here. also we have no health care for poor people. but whatever.

[ Parent ]
stop that. (none / 0) (#192)
by ph0rk on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:20:38 PM EST

It disturbs me when I agree with you.

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Technically... (resource vs. reserve) (4.70 / 10) (#11)
by subversion on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 08:57:02 PM EST

The Alberta tar sands are not technically considered reserve yet.

They're considered a resource, because they are not currently economically favorable to extract.  When they become economically favorable, they become reserves.

The terms have a very disparate meaning in the fossil fuel community, so you might want to try to use them correctly.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.

uhh.... (none / 0) (#397)
by LilDebbie on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 09:45:24 PM EST

why am I seeing 5s and 4s on this comment? did the rating system get changed again, or am I simply insane?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Canada will be a major world energy supplier (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by tang gnat on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:28:46 PM EST

I think these will be the two big energy sources in 50 years:
  • Fossil fuels - it's very easy to make a combustion engine fit in a small space, like a car. No doubt there will be many automobiles going around. Eventually the oil sands will become economically feasible.
  • D-T Fusion - they're going to figure out how to do it one day, and guess who has a lot of heavy hydrogen (Dueterium)? Yep, Canada. Over many millions of years, the lakes of Canada have been mechanically concentrating heavy water. It's still a low concentration, but the refining process is quite cheap. I hope that this time the North American public won't believe the FUD about nuclear power.


Hm. (none / 0) (#18)
by tokugawa on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:35:52 PM EST

No Iraqi blood for oil, they chant.

Will Canadian blood be spilt for Dueterium?

[ Parent ]

Hmm. (4.50 / 4) (#39)
by nevauene on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:13:12 PM EST

Well it's hard to see how the US could initiate aggression against Canada without making enemies of the entire rest of the world, save a few indebted-to-sugar-daddy states and banana republics. I think it's safe to say that much of the world, already quite annoyed by US aggression, grandiose schemes, and comic-book morality plays, would consider Canada to be the last straw.

Sadly, it doesn't seem like as totally surreal and impossible a scenario as it did a decade ago, considering the demented and economically-impaired warmongers running the show down there as of late. All I can say is that an awful lot of American blood would be spilled in the process. Canadian collective psychology is a weird beast; we may suck up an awful lot of USian culture, but there's little doubt in my mind that a rather large percentage of otherwise passive middle-class folks here would happily die before letting the US or anyone else occupy the country - very much the same way that one hell of alot of ordinary people in the US would probably take up arms before they'd allow any foreign invasion to take place. Iraqis? Pussies, largely pacified by decades of totalitarian rule. We on the other hand have burnt the White House down to the ground once before, and we'd be happy to do it again :D


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Go Canada! (4.00 / 3) (#45)
by flo on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:38:33 PM EST

You've burnt down the White House before? Hats off to you.

Well it's hard to see how the US could initiate aggression against Canada without making enemies of the entire rest of the world
The USA is worried about pissing off the rest of the world? That's a brand new insight. I guess it does explain why they are leaving the Middle East alone, right?

Sarcasm aside, I think that Canada really does have something to worry about. And not just because I've seen the South Park movie. Once the cheap oil in the Middle East starts running out, and becomes more expensive than tar sand, we may well start hearing talk about secret WMD programs in Canada...
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
Or the Return of the Reds!!! (2.00 / 1) (#58)
by Subtillus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:40:32 AM EST

The old evil russia = Socialist, red flag, EVIL!!! : O

Canada = somewhat socialist, red flag, also evil.

Therefore, Canada is on an equal footing with soviet russia and is naturally an enemy of the USA.

That's all they'll say before G. Bush the 8th starts bombing us reds back into the stone age.

[ Parent ]

Indeed (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by nevauene on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:14:45 AM EST

Universal health care, social assistance for the poor, due process, progressive taxation - Canada is obviously a hotbed of socialist subversion. The sooner this Liberal despotism is deposed and replaced by Canadian Alliance rule the better.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
don't piss us off eh. (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by metalgeek on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:24:20 AM EST

Yeah whitehouse burned in the war of 1812, (theres arguments about whether or not it was the Canadians or the British who did it, mainly because at that point in time, Canada technically didn't exist as a seperate country.)
The reason for saying that attacking Canada would be the straw that broke the camels back is mainly because Canada is largly viewed by the world as a peaceful nice country..(a far cry on how we were viewed in ww1) I'm quite sure the same would happen if the US attacked any western european countries, (basically any country that is seen as a democracy, and not having expansionist intents)
but it is true that theres a pent up nationism in canada... and we have just as many guns per captita as the states, we just shoot deer with them, not people:)


"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of a Comedian (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by Kwil on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:48:39 AM EST

That I saw on the CBC (of course).

He was commenting how he's worried about if Canada went bad and started attacking other countries.

"I mean, what could anybody do if Canada attacked? Call up the UN? Just imagine that conversation:
'You gotta help us! Canada is attacking!'
'I'm sorry, who did you say is attacking?'  
'Canada!'
'You're sure?'
'Positive!'
'Did you try buying them a beer? Maybe they're just thirsty...'"

 

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
I love Canadian comics n/t (none / 0) (#109)
by metalgeek on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:52:16 AM EST



"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
Canada at war... (none / 0) (#269)
by John Bayko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:51:43 PM EST

SatireWire is a hilarious site, but it's creator got tired with it. But here's something about the Canatian military:

http://satirewire.com/news/feb02/warship.shtml

[ Parent ]

Candian military views US as biggest enemy.... (5.00 / 2) (#81)
by ckm on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:42:55 AM EST

In Robert Kaplan's very good book "An Empire Wilderness", he starts off by visiting the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  There, he speaks with a couple of Canadian military officers who tell him that the US is the biggest military threat to Canada.

Suprisingly (or maybe not), the US military students agree with this analysis....

Other telling bits about US military thinking:

"Many times in the course of my visit to Leavenworth I heard discussion of the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the National Guard to act as a local police force once it has been federalized by the army in a civil emergency.  The implication was that turbulence within the United States might one day require this act to be repealed. ... 'Martial law has rarely been declared in the United States,' noted Lieutenant Colonel Marvin Chandler. 'That's another thing we look at.'"

Chris.

[ Parent ]

What's surprising about that? (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by ghjm on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:26:42 AM EST

Military planners always have to look at capability, not intent. So of course the USA is Canada's greatest military threat. If it should come to pass that the USA decided to adopt a military-hostile stance towards Canada, well then Canada would be truly and comprehensively fucked. Military planners know this and produce scenarios and plans to do what they can to mitigate the damage if this were to occur - though you have to wonder what options they really have. None of this means that anyone actually expects this turn of events, it's just something that nations need to do.

Note that Canada is probably also one of the USA's top 10 threats.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

Military threats (none / 0) (#263)
by John Bayko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:46:20 PM EST

"Note that Canada is probably also one of the USA's top 10 threats."

Given that a Canadian is second in command at NORAD, it's hard to see how war between the countries could work.

U.S General to Canadian General: "Launch all bombers on a heading to Ottawa!"
Canadian General: "Yes, sir." (to U.S Colonel) "Launch all bombers on a heading to Washington!"
U.S Colonel: "Yes, sir." (to Canadian Colonel) "Launch all bombers on a heading to Ottawa!"

Etc...

This sort of integration is actually a better way of invading. For example, U.S soldiers are perfectly entitled to invade Canada without firing a shot, due to a "mutual defense treaty" which was signed last year. The downside is that Canadian troops are also allowed to enter the U.S under the same circumstances, but how likely is that to happen?

BTW, Canada's military just bought a large number of U.S-built military vehicles, and the U.S military recently bought a very large number of Canadian-built military vehicles. Canada also contributed some $800 million to U.S the Joint Strike Fighter program, but hasn't bought any planes. Although Canada does not support the Iraq invasion, at least thirty Canadian soldiers who are part of exchange programs with the U.S and Britain are fighting in the war.

Military operations among allies just aren't separate any more.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by nevauene on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:31:41 AM EST

Interesting. Of course it is perfectly logical for Canadians to regard the US as the most serious and immediate threat to Canada - just as it would be logical for the US to regard Canada as its largest and most immediate threat, except for the fact that we have a minimal military, no imperial ambition, and are willing to put up with an awful lot of diplomatic and economic arrogance without blowing people up in response. However there is a dormant Canadian nationalism, already quite pissed off and just waiting to be overtly fucked with, that would make the current on-paper strength of our military quite irrelevant in the event of any actual incursion.

Incidentally I have been in a major US city under martial law, namely Seattle in December 1999. That massive overreaction seemed utterly absurd at the time. But I was younger and very naive then, I thought we had surely hit bottom and were on the way back up into sanity. Little did I know, that was the positively enlightened top end of a downward spiral, with no end in sight. The authorities arresting people on sight for not having the right ID card doesn't seem all that out of the ordinary in America now, it's backpage shit. What used to be outrageous is now perfectly acceptable, just so long as some talking head can explain how it is critical to national security, foils Al Qaeda plots, etc. So much for the cradle of democracy.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
That's funny! (none / 0) (#98)
by ti dave on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:26:48 AM EST

I was in Seattle at the very same time and I don't recall being forced to show ID to anyone.

Perhaps you should lay off the Starbucks windows, eh?

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Err. (none / 0) (#115)
by nevauene on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:29:31 AM EST

I was there for two weeks. When a 'state of emergency' was officially declared, it was trumpted quite loudly on TV and radio that anybody who was not either (a) an 'accredited' journalist or (b) a WTO delegate with proper identification was subject to arbitrary arrest and detention without immediate legal counsel, as is customary under martial law. To most people on the street the message was obvious - people working midnights, hitting the bars (I was amazed to discover that Washington state, hotbed of left coast liberal scum that it is, has extremely archaic liquor laws) etc would be passed over, but anybody the cops didn't like the look of, or who didn't give sufficiently ass-kissing 'fucking protestors blocking traffic' answers to questions would be tossed in the paddy wagon.

Since you're so quick to deny that a serious abrogation of civil rights took place in Seattle at the time, and also so kneejerk-quick to dismiss anybody who claims it did occur as a Starbucks-thrashing anarchist nut, I have to ask: why were you there, what were you doing? I was there, I saw angry cops all suited up and itching to kick ass from feet away, and I know people personally who got detained (and gassed) while engaged in perfectly legal action (ie trying to get to a downtown show at night, trying to peaceably assemble and dissent in the day). I know people who don't even give a fuck about politics, who regardless became a part of the situation when cops invaded their neighbourhood as a result of rather ill-planned flank & redirection manuevers against large groups of (mostly) peaceful protesters.

If you were really downtown and in the shit, then I simply don't understand the hostility - nobody who was there could entertain for a second the standard line of disruptive 'black bloc' protestors ruining it for everybody else. If you were up in the Space Needle sipping latte sneering at the masses, or something more or less equivalent, then please kiss my ass.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Och! Such an *angry* young man! (none / 0) (#116)
by ti dave on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:49:03 AM EST

I have been in a major US city under martial law

Let's drop the pretense and hyperbole for a moment and admit that the area in question was, by no means, the entire City of Seattle.

nobody who was there could entertain for a second the standard line of disruptive 'black bloc' protestors ruining it for everybody else.

Well then, what were they doing... handing out party favors?

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Ooops! (none / 0) (#125)
by synaesthesia on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:34:30 AM EST

Failed to answer the question. Instead, tried ad hominem attack. Nil points.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Begging your pardon... (none / 0) (#236)
by ti dave on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:21:26 PM EST

The answer is that I was working.
Working outside of the small section of the City that was the battle ground and minding my own business in a non-violent manner.

Where'd you perceive the "ad hominem attack"?

Surely, I wrote nothing more offensive than, "If you were up in the Space Needle sipping latte sneering at the masses, or something more or less equivalent, then please kiss my ass."

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

sigh (5.00 / 1) (#319)
by nevauene on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 03:53:45 AM EST

Hmm, perhaps he perceived the ad hominem attack to exist in the subject:

Och! Such an *angry* young man!

Angry young man might well describe me at the time, but I'd like to think I'm alot more cynical / pragmatic / rational etc these days.

Let's drop the pretense and hyperbole for a moment and admit that the area in question was, by no means, the entire City of Seattle.

I never claimed that the area in question was the entire City of Seattle. You seem to be grasping at straws here - a significant area of the city was in fact proclaimed to be in a 'state of emergency' because a minority of protestors chose to (and succeeded in) blocking delegates from entering into a blatantly non-democratic meeting to discuss how to best civilly and ecomically engineer the world that morning. In response to that 'defeat', paranoiac police lobbed gas grenades into Pike Place Market, antagonized (read: encouraged) large groups of protestors and pushed them deep into residential districts without giving them any opportunity to disperse, etc. Once limited martial law was proclaimed, they arrested scores of people - to be a policeman and suddenly be authorized to detain people without cause and without legal representation for several days is surely a very happy day indeed. Call me angry young man, accuse me of pretense and hyperbole all you want. If at the end of the day you can still defend what took place there then I would love to hear the justification for it. Hint: protestors making you late for work is not a valid reason to support the establishment of a police state. You failed to address the details I gave re: who was allowed to be on the street, and who was not; I suppose because there is simply no reasonable apologia to be made for that in any state that calls itself a democracy.

The real mystery here is due to the fact that you and I should probably be in agreement here, in a sane world; I'm not a hyper-dogmatic leftist, and I would hope you're not a hyper-dogmatic right-wing type. I don't think my presence in Seattle at the time means a goddamn thing, I merely brought it up because someone else mentioned martial law in the US, because I have seen it. We'd probably agree on more than we'd disagree on, but we'll clearly never get there if you insist on painting over me with the idiot brush rather than consider what I'm actually saying. To claim that the protestors in Seattle were largely clueless shit-disturbers rather than defenders of liberty and democracy first and foremost is a pathetic lie. To apologize for the reaction of the powers that be there as acceptible or rational behaviour on the part of an ostensibly democratic government is short-sighted, self-serving, simply dishonest. I guess if we disagree on those fundamentals then it really is an unbridgeable gap that separates us - so be it.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
On second thought... (4.00 / 1) (#324)
by ti dave on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:39:52 AM EST

I now realize that the statement "I have been in a major US city under martial law" can be parsed a couple of different ways.

One possible interpretation is that you were in a major U.S. city, and you were under martial law.

The other is that you were in a major U.S. city, and at the time, the city was under martial law.

I'll assume you meant the first version, since you admit that "limited martial law was proclaimed".
It seems that we define "significant area of the city" differently.

When you say "antagonized (read: encouraged) large groups of protestors", it makes me wonder why the protesters didn't embrace the Golden Rule and make Ghandi proud.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's where we depart; "to be a policeman and suddenly be authorized to detain people without cause and without legal representation for several days is surely a very happy day indeed."

That's where you're simply making shit up.
No, that's not what makes it a good day for a cop.

I'd tell you, but frankly, I don't think you'd appreciate it.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Ooops, encore! (none / 0) (#328)
by synaesthesia on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 08:02:38 AM EST

You were doing so well, and then you started patronising him.

I'd tell you, but frankly, I don't think you'd appreciate it.

Police officers are humans, each having their own opinions and motivations, albeit some better thought-out than others.

Likewise, protesters. Self-admittedly, you were incubated in your own little protective environment during the protests. You seem to believe the media when they tell you what happened; why do you not believe nevauene, who was right there on the scene?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

You misunderstand. (none / 0) (#341)
by ti dave on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 03:43:17 PM EST

What's there to believe, or for that matter, to disbelieve?

Yes, there was a conflict. I believe that it turned sour when the imported Bloc militants began, in their typical manner, to stir up the shit.

The destruction they caused earns them no synpathy from me.
If they want the laws changed, the blueprint for causing that change in a peaceful and respectful manner already exists.

Their current tactics make them appear to be impetulant children who are in dire need of a collective spanking.

You're right about cops being only human.
Personally, I'm a bit tired of the "I smell Bacon, let's kill the Piggies" attitude that is so richly rewarded around here.

That's my human side.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure I do. (none / 0) (#353)
by synaesthesia on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 04:38:46 AM EST

What's there to believe, or for that matter, to disbelieve?

You don't seem to believe that the vast majority of citizens present at or near the WTO protests were there in peace. In other words, you seem to believe that the police response nevauene describes...

"I was there, I saw angry cops all suited up and itching to kick ass from feet away, and I know people personally who got detained (and gassed) while engaged in perfectly legal action (ie trying to get to a downtown show at night, trying to peaceably assemble and dissent in the day). I know people who don't even give a fuck about politics, who regardless became a part of the situation when cops invaded their neighbourhood as a result of rather ill-planned flank & redirection manuevers against large groups of (mostly) peaceful protesters."

...was perfectly reasonable, seemingly on the basis of the belief that most people there were smashing Starbucks windows.

Yes, there was a conflict. I believe that it turned sour when the imported Bloc militants began, in their typical manner, to stir up the shit.

Imported, eh? Are you accusing nevauene of importing them? If not, whom? Some people would accuse the authorities, if not of importing them, of targetting them to stir up the shit. I wasn't there, so I'll defer judgement, I'd rather take the word of people who were (although like nevauene, I don't really have much time for people whose main complaint was "they were blocking the traffic").

The destruction they caused earns them no synpathy from me.

Nor me, for the most part (see below). But then, I think we have to be clear about who "they" are, don't we?

If they want the laws changed, the blueprint for causing that change in a peaceful and respectful manner already exists.

Not really.  "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum -- even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate." - Noam Chomsky

Their current tactics make them appear to be impetulant children who are in dire need of a collective spanking.

Just like those who founded America, then? Naughty, naughty children who should have known better than to speak before the King.

You're right about cops being only human.
Personally, I'm a bit tired of the "I smell Bacon, let's kill the Piggies" attitude that is so richly rewarded around here.

So, don't lose focus on what's wrong with that attitude. Otherwise you'll find yourself engrossed in it from the other direction.

That's my human side.

Fear of the unknown?

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Vast Majority? (none / 0) (#354)
by ti dave on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 04:57:02 AM EST

No, I believe the vast majority were there to peacefully protest, however...

These Assholes decided to head up north, from the Eugene area, for their Destruction Tourney.

If you choose not to believe Salon's account, there are plenty of other reports on the activities of this ultra-violent minority in Seattle that week.

How much "targetting" do you think this group required, before doing what they do best?

The reality of that situation seems to be that the Bloc Militants hi-jacked the protests for their own purposes and as a result, the message of the majority fell upon deaf ears, mine own included.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

And you think... (none / 0) (#355)
by synaesthesia on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 05:37:42 AM EST

...that nevauene must have been one of the Black Bloc crowd, purely on the basis that he was asked to show his identity? That's where we came in on this discussion.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
No... (none / 0) (#356)
by ti dave on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 05:57:41 AM EST

My "Perhaps you should lay off the Starbucks windows, eh?" was a question designed to prompt him to state which side of this dispute he is on, the Rational or the Irrational.

Please note, as I did, that he later admitted he was "not a hyper-dogmatic leftist".

Case closed.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

For future reference... (none / 0) (#358)
by synaesthesia on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 06:51:31 AM EST

My "Perhaps you should lay off the Starbucks windows, eh?" was a question designed to prompt him to state which side of this dispute he is on, the Rational or the Irrational.

Instead, it had the effect of putting you firmly on the Irrational side of the debate, making him seem more rational than you either way, and thereby defeating the point.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

re: Irrational (none / 0) (#359)
by ti dave on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 07:19:54 AM EST

I'd be in that category, if no Starbucks windows had been broken, eh?

Good Day, Sir!

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Thank you, kind sir. (none / 0) (#361)
by synaesthesia on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 09:08:41 AM EST

But no, you're in that category because you suggested that anyone who was asked to provide I.D. was in that position because they were breaking Starbucks windows. Tarring all anti-globalisation protesters with the same Black Bloc brush is akin to making the sweeping generalisation that "to be a policeman and suddenly be authorized to detain people without cause and without legal representation for several days is surely a very happy day indeed". And I'm sure you wouldn't want to be seen as someone who would say things like that, would you?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Are you sleep-typing? (none / 0) (#364)
by ti dave on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 03:36:55 PM EST

Tarring all anti-globalisation protesters

How many times do I have to repeat the words "Not All" and "Minority" before it sinks in with you?

Now you're just writing for the sake of reading your own words.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

You, sir... (none / 0) (#367)
by synaesthesia on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 05:43:17 PM EST

...need to learn the difference between the present tense and the past.

What I am claiming is not that you are suggesting, but that you originally suggested, that anyone asked to provide ID was causing trouble. Then you changed your tune, stating that the reason you represented that opinion was elicit a particular response. I'm sure I don't need to remind you that such tactics are often referred to as 'trolling'.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#370)
by ti dave on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 04:39:41 AM EST

I did indeed, make that suggestion in order to "elicit a particular response".

Call it what you like, but I stand behind my comments.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

WTO protests (5.00 / 1) (#231)
by coryking on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:10:12 PM EST

If you were really downtown and in the shit, then I simply don't understand the hostility - nobody who was there could entertain for a second the standard line of disruptive 'black bloc' protestors ruining it for everybody else. If you were up in the Space Needle sipping latte sneering at the masses, or something more or less equivalent, then please kiss my ass.
Surely you are not refering to the bashed in windows, the trashed starbucks, the buring dumpsters, the newspaper stands thrown everywhere, the shitheads wearning nike shoes kicking down the "niketown" sign? If not that, then what are you talking about?

Now to be fair, the police could have done better, and they still have not honed their crowd management skills. But jesus, for a city who's never seen that kind of action, ever, you got to give the guys a break!

With three (four?) years to become older and wiser, I've realized almost every person who was in that prostest had no fucking idea what they were protesting. None.

[ Parent ]

Uh huh. (none / 0) (#318)
by nevauene on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 03:24:26 AM EST

With three (four?) years to become older and wiser, I've realized almost every person who was in that prostest had no fucking idea what they were protesting. None.

Whereas of course, you're far more enlightened. Judging from your one-dimensional commentary here, I think not. You're easily as ignorant and politically dogmatic as the "Nike-wearing Niketown trashers" (of course to the young Republican on the town there is conveniently no difference between the people who initiate the chaos and the cynical opportunists who inevitably come in their wake) you despise. You are an excellent example of a peculiar form of modern American mental disease - merely state your point of view in a certain dismissive 'we are right' kind of tone, ('protestors had no idea what they were even protesting' - could you any more faithfully parrot the line of the local and national media at the time?), no actual logical case, or evidence to support it, is required. The choir will nod their heads and pat your back. The most blatant of commie propaganda pamphlets that I was handed in Seattle have more actual fact and rational argument in them than the kneejerk dismissals of you and your ilk do.

Speaking as someone who was amongst those foolish protestors, I'd definitely say the majority had a very good idea of what they were protesting about; the suggestion that they were all a bunch of dumb hippies thrashing about out of sheer boredom is a flag-waving revisionist's wet dream and no more. As a foreigner I saw more courageous acts in defense of liberty and free speech in those two weeks than your sheltered ass will probably see in a lifetime. And I'm quite certain that well over half of the people on the streets then could, even now, explain better what the history and function of the WTO and IMF is than you ever could.

Tell yourself whatever you like, but the suggestion that most people out had no idea what they were protesting is fictional on its face. If you want to discredit those who dissent then you can surely do better than that.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
So, I'm interested. (none / 0) (#327)
by synaesthesia on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 07:49:26 AM EST

Given that you now have an extremely enlightened understanding of what was being protested, how would you go about redressing the imbalance caused by the WTO and IMF?

Violent revolution IMHO should be a last resort; but resorted to it must be, if that is what it takes. America was founded through violence; it will likely be overthrown violently, in its time.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

That's alright (none / 0) (#351)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 01:03:57 AM EST

We've had plans to deal with our Northern friends for more than eighty years.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Probably not (2.00 / 3) (#50)
by godix on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:16:35 AM EST

By the time Dueterium is in major demand there will probably be several countries north of the US border. Quebec keeps inching closer and closer to independence and I doubt the rest of Canada will hold together once Quebec finally splits. At that point all America has to do is play the 'give a small country arms to attack it's neighbors' game we did during the cold war. There won't be a real need for America to directly interfer, and even if things did get that far it'd be long after war between former Canadian providences gave us enough justification.


"This is a great day for France!"
- Richard Nixon at Carles De Gaulle's funeral
[ Parent ]
really makes you salivate, eh? (none / 0) (#56)
by DominantParadigm on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:36:47 AM EST

Boy I'm glad Americans are such worthless scum, it sure makes Canada an undesirable target.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Please (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by marx on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:06:24 AM EST

It's spelled "deuterium".

No offense, but "dueterium" hurts my eyes.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Obviously you're not up on current events (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by Hatamoto on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:11:21 PM EST

The separatists in quebec have just been handed a serious smackdown by the liberals in the recent provincial election. There's a larger liklihood of cross-burning sheet-bleachers in alberta separating than quebec doing so these days.

If you're going to troll, try doing it on a topic that isn't immediately identifiable as bullshit by anyone who turns on a TV once a week.

Of course, if you're a yanker, you're probably unaware of anything newswise aside from that armless iraqi kid unsucessfully being used as an icon of 'western charity', in which case you can go to the CBC site here and be enlightened.

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)
[ Parent ]

fascinating ignorance (none / 0) (#322)
by nevauene on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 04:41:59 AM EST

At that point all America has to do is play the 'give a small country arms to attack it's neighbors' game we did during the cold war. There won't be a real need for America to directly interfer, and even if things did get that far it'd be long after war between former Canadian providences gave us enough justification.

A cursory review of recent news would indicate to you that separatism is dead as disco here now; besides that the Quebecois have always been more cynical and hateful towards the US than they ever have been towards anglo Canadians. it's rather difficult to imagine any future whereby they would use spiffy RPGs against their own countrymen before they would imperialist Yanqui bastards etc. I'd personally love to see the US try to play the same inept internal destabilization games they've played with countless South American countries in Canada - give it a try and see how it works out. Selling us arms on the basis of incredibly naive and outdated political preconceptions is probably not a bright idea.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Except... (none / 0) (#230)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:01:59 PM EST

DT fusion is far from ideal. Heavy helium, or even boron are much likelier candidates for fusion, once we're past the experimental stage. Tokamaks are dead end... real fusion will be done with some electrostatic process.

Long live the Z pinch!

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Not to mention biodiesel... (4.83 / 6) (#19)
by dipierro on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:46:16 PM EST

You can buy biodiesel made from soy oil for about $2.50/gallon. And that can be made right here in the US of A.



Price??? (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by MSBob on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:50:41 PM EST

One barrel of oil is 42 gallons.

That yields a price tag of... wait for it... drums rolling...

$102 per barrel

Seriously though I think biodiesel will become more significant in the future and the economies of scale will kick in but it still has long ways to go before it can even begin approaching tar sands exploration not to mention lighter oils.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Ooops! (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by MSBob on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:52:47 PM EST

That's price and not production costs. Any idea how much it costs to produce biodiesel?
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
biodiesel (none / 0) (#46)
by adamba on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:50:56 PM EST

Don't know what it costs, but the Seattle Times weekend magazine happened to have an article about "Ecotopia" in the Puget Sound (don't ask, just read the article), and mentioned someone who makes biodisel from discarded restaurant oil. His exhaust smells like french fries, they say.

- adam

[ Parent ]

But that's not sustainable... (none / 0) (#130)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:46:45 AM EST

It's a cute idea, but if more than 10 or 20 people in the world start doing it, we're quickly going to run out of restaurant oil.

[ Parent ]
More than 10 or 20... (none / 0) (#210)
by smithmc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:05:15 PM EST

...how many restaurants are there in the world? A million? Ten million? How much frying oil do they use in a day? 5 gallons? 10? 20? We're talking somewhere on the order of a hundred million gallons (about 2 million barrels) of oil every day. That's approximately as much as the US imports from Canada (our #1 foreign supplier) each day, a not insignificant amount. -- Mike Smith

[ Parent ]
not a solution (none / 0) (#256)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:08:26 PM EST

We're talking somewhere on the order of a hundred million gallons (about 2 million barrels) of oil every day.

Well, according to this page that daily figure is more than the global yearly production of vegetable oil, so I'd say you're off by quite a bit.

That's approximately as much as the US imports from Canada (our #1 foreign supplier) each day, a not insignificant amount.

The United States uses 20 million barrels of oil per day, so 2 million barrels would be 10%. But the actual amount of oil used globally is probably closer to 5000 barrels a day at an absolute maximum. So that's 0.25%, and that's assuming that the entire world's used oil is at our disposal, which it isn't.

I intentionally exaggerated my numbers when I said "10 or 20." But used cooking oil is nowhere near a solution to the country's energy problems. In fact, it's a small enough of a solution that the costs of implementing it on any kind of large scale would likely outweigh the benefits.



[ Parent ]
Like I Said, Oil from Poop (none / 0) (#294)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:20:45 PM EST

See this comment.

Not only can we (possibly) make oil from poop (and turkey guts) but, if worse comes to worse, we can steal it from the Arabs. Why pay them anything? They hate us anyway...

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

But the point is... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by dipierro on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 10:26:53 PM EST

We don't have to be reliant on any of the rest of the world. We don't have to switch to solar with any haste. We're not going to run out of oil - ever.

Also, as you noticed later, $2.50 is the price of the finished product. That counts manufacture, refining, distribution, everything.

Like the tar sands and solar panels, the only reason we haven't yet switched to biodiesel is economics. Now there are pollution problems with oil, and that is a legitimate argument for switching away from it, but as long as you tax it heavily enough to pay for the harms I don't have any problem with it.



[ Parent ]
How profound (none / 0) (#144)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:24:55 AM EST

Right now gasoline costs approx $0.80/gallon to produce, not including taxes.

The reason biodiesel is so cheap is that most people producing biodiesel are doing to with waste oil from food plants and restaurants. There are only so many chinese food joints waiting to give away waste oil.

Large scale biodiesel production would require purchasing huge quantities of oil-producing crops to succeed. Having to pay signifigant sums for raw materials will raise the costs of biodiesel signifigantly.

[ Parent ]

How profound (none / 0) (#151)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:50:38 AM EST

Right now gasoline costs approx $0.80/gallon to produce, not including taxes.

The reason biodiesel is so cheap is that most people producing biodiesel are doing to with waste oil from food plants and restaurants.

That can be had for a lot less than $0.80/gallon, and it's not what I was talking about when I said $2.50/gallon. Plus biodiesel runs much more cleanly, so you have to add the taxes to represent the true costs.

Large scale biodiesel production would require purchasing huge quantities of oil-producing crops to succeed. Having to pay signifigant sums for raw materials will raise the costs of biodiesel signifigantly.

Raw materials for crops? You mean seeds? I think the economies of scale will far outweigh the diseconomies of scale.



[ Parent ]
There's plenty of food already (none / 0) (#157)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:57:00 AM EST

Producing something that is imcompatable with modern unleaded gasoline engines.

How long do engines last? Surely we'll see the end of the oil era in time to gradually switch.

However shouldn't we actually be spending money on growing food for people not cars?

No. There's already plenty of food for everyone in the world many times over.

I would rather feed the starving than make hippie gas.

How are you going to feed the starving without a way to transport the food to them?



[ Parent ]
how much time (none / 0) (#163)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:02:57 AM EST

5-10 years would be virtually unnoticable.

[ Parent ]
Cool! (none / 0) (#292)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:23:27 PM EST

We can replace all of our wimpy sedans with 2 1/2 ton pickup trucks with big diesels! (or wait months for a Jetta TDI to come in)

Look out, SUV owners!

[ Parent ]

incompatible? (none / 0) (#251)
by joshsisk on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:38:28 PM EST

Producing something that is imcompatable with modern unleaded gasoline engines.

Sure, but he's talking about diesel. A decent amount of vehicles on the road run on diesel already, and it would be elementary for car companies to start offerring more diesel vehicles, as they did in the 80s.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Surplus Vegetable Oil, dude (none / 0) (#198)
by Ricdude on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:51:09 PM EST

Large scale biodiesel production would require purchasing huge quantities of oil-producing crops to succeed.
Or, you could just use the millions of gallons of surplus soy oil produced domestically every year. Last year, there were something like 300 million gallons of surplus soy oil alone. Also, all of the farmers currently being paid to watch their lands produce nothing could actually get paid to grow something useful in their fields.

Check out Biodieselnow.com for potentially useful information about this fuel. I just traded in a '92 V8 Ford Bronco for a Diesel powered VW, to run a car powered via biodiesel. Call it my personal act of protest against the US's current energy policy, i.e. enslavement to big oil.

[ Parent ]

Then we'll be able to bitch (5.00 / 2) (#36)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:07:35 PM EST

About growing corn to fuel cars instead of feeding the poor children in _____.

Plus, farming damages the environment. We should all live on wild berries and tofu.

[ Parent ]

Don't you farm soy for tofu? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by strlen on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:34:16 AM EST

And you can use soy to make bio diesel. Hmm, now I could see the hippies protesting "make tofu, not bio diesel!".

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#129)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:45:38 AM EST

There's already plenty of food in the world to go around many times over. The problem is distribution. In other words, cheap fuel is the solution to feeding the children, not cheap food.

[ Parent ]
Sure (1.00 / 1) (#143)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:20:57 AM EST

But is it organic?

Eating food grown with pesticides or genetically altered to keep bugs away is considered as evil as eating meat to some hippies.

[ Parent ]

Who cares about hippies (none / 0) (#147)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:43:34 AM EST

We were talking about starving children.

[ Parent ]
Alternatively... (none / 0) (#224)
by rantweasel on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:53:06 PM EST

You'll see stoners bitching about how every mile you drive keeps them from smoking up.

Alright, so it's industrial hemp, not smokable weed, that is used in making hemp biodiesel, but the point is that biodiesel could be manufactured without starving anyone, and pretty much anyone could grow biodiesel supplies.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Support Diesel engines (none / 0) (#75)
by opendna on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:24:15 AM EST

Biodiesel is 1/2 the reason I oppose the Bush Admin's anti-diesel emissions control campaign.

The other 1/2 is that soot and other heavily pollutants from diesel combustion settle out of the atmosphere much faster than "cleaner" gasoline exhausts. The result is that diesel pollusion has less long-term effects on the environment.

Atmospheric pollution perspective: A technology that is easily convertible to renewable fuels and, even when unconverted, precipitates 80% of its waste over 5 years shouldn't be targeted for policy repression for short-term political gains.



[ Parent ]

Yep (none / 0) (#78)
by strlen on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:32:48 AM EST

Gotta love the government, who on one end sets higher and higher standarts of fuel efficiency, to the point of not always being feasible, and at the mean time puts red tape in the way of very fuel efficient technology (a VW passanger turbo-diesel engine gets 49 miles per gallon.. while available in a car, that costs under $20,000).

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
particulates *kill* people (none / 0) (#162)
by Bryan Larsen on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:00:36 AM EST

Diesel cars (even my diesel Volkswagen) produce a lot more particulates than gasoline engines.  Sure, they precipitate out of the atmosphere, but into the lungs of people and animals.  The role of greenhouse gases may be accepted by a majority of people, but the link between particulates and lung cancer is well documented.

My volkswagen produces far fewer particulates than the typical diesel (no black smoke).  And its greenhouse emissions are far lower per litre than a gasoline engine, and I use approximately half the volume of petroleum products than the equivalent gasoline Volkswagen does.  But it's a tradeoff, and I don't know that it's the right one.

Rural folk should drive diesels: plants consider particulates food.  But city folks should think twice.  (I used to be a rural guy, but now am decidedly urban.)

Bryan


[ Parent ]

Yep (none / 0) (#76)
by strlen on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:30:50 AM EST

And you can buy a diesel car, at the price of a gasoline car, and with roughly similar performance (except for gobs of low-end torque). And before the tree-huggers (this term used just to people off) attack me, modern european and japanese turbo-diesel are far ahead of the GM diesels most americans are used to. Passanger car diesels are the norm all over the world, except North America.

Also, it's possible to use most anything for biomass.. including everyone's favorite plant (and very succesfully so, as it's easily cultivate).

Biodiesel is the way, after petrol-based fuels run out, or become prohibitively expensive. The world isn't going to hell in a handbasket, yet, bio diesel is the way out.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

sulphur content (none / 0) (#89)
by Hadlock on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:33:03 AM EST

the reason the rest of the world uses very low sulfur content diesel, which doesn't tend to blanket the catalayic converter in a type of soot that renders it ineffective after 5 years on passenger cars. here in the US, we have a very high sulfur content, which does this to catalyaic converters, making diesel less economical in the US rather than the rest of the world. bio diesel, from what i understand, would solve this problem however.
i need a customer appreciation bat.
[ Parent ]
no (none / 0) (#100)
by strlen on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:30:00 AM EST

i do believe, bio diesel has a lower sulphur content, but the united states is supposed to receive low sulphur diesel by 2006.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Yeah but... (none / 0) (#77)
by ender81b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:32:07 AM EST

While biodiesel sounds great (renewable fuel!) you have to understand how it is produced. From biological components, obviously, and how do you think THOSE are produced? Some are from used/spent vegetable oil,etc while some biodiesel is just plain grown crops.

Modern farming is incredibly wasteful. Here is the easiest way to think of it in terms of calories gained/calories spent.

Foragers                    9.6/1  
Agriculture                53.5/1
Modern Agriculture       6000.0/1
Modern Agriculture (2)      .125/1

The (2) factors in all the rest of the things modern agriculture needs, like how much energy is needed to produce combines, transportation costs, fertilizer, etc, etc. What you find is that energy comes almost entirely from Oil.

What I'm trying to say is that biodiesel isn't any better than just using plain oil and is, probably, alot less efficient - unless you power those combines, fertilizer, etc, with some other form of renewable energy like solar power.

Just some food for thought.

[ Parent ]

Where do you get those figures? <nt> (none / 0) (#80)
by magney on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:39:59 AM EST


Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Source: (none / 0) (#84)
by ender81b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:00:27 AM EST

Dr. Raymond Hames, Professor of Anthropology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lecture, 02/28/03.


[ Parent ]
All right, thanks. (none / 0) (#87)
by magney on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:27:25 AM EST

I do wonder what a professor of anthropology knows of such things, but perhaps he studies the anthropology of agriculture. Ah well, I asked for a source and I got it. :)

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

biodiesel is a form of renewable energy (none / 0) (#90)
by Hadlock on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:37:43 AM EST

The (2) factors in all the rest of the things modern agriculture needs, like how much energy is needed to produce combines, transportation costs, fertilizer, etc, etc. What you find is that energy comes almost entirely from Oil.

What I'm trying to say is that biodiesel isn't any better than just using plain oil and is, probably, alot less efficient - unless you power those combines, fertilizer, etc, with some other form of renewable energy like solar power.


i am just curious, but did your professor talk about farmers fueling and oiling their vehicles with bio oil they grew and refined on their own land, rather than using 'arabian' oil? i have read multiple articles on the subject of farmers who are usually 90% or more petrolium independent using their renewable energy source of biodiesel to make more biodiesel.
i need a customer appreciation bat.
[ Parent ]
Hrm. (none / 0) (#101)
by ender81b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:30:57 AM EST

No that wasn't really in the context of the discussion, the lecture was on different types of farming and how they affect lifestyles, etc.

Good point though. I mean growing your own biodiesel to fuel your own equipment would be a good use of energy. Of course such a system wouldn't be completely renewable (the energy used to build the farm equipment, fertilizer, etc wouldn't be - necassarily - made with renewable energy) but it would be a good sight better than what it was before. Nice.

[ Parent ]

farmer grown crops. (none / 0) (#202)
by Ricdude on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:59:55 PM EST

...farmers fueling and oiling their vehicles with bio oil...
The original Diesel engine demo was run on peanut oil, specifically to demonstrate that farmers could grow their own fuel. Any existing diesel car today can run on it, just by putting it in your fuel tank. If you have an older car, you may need to replace rubber hoses in your fuel system, but absolutely no modifications to your vehicle are necessary to do so.

Also, the infrastructure necessary for wide scale distribution (tanker trucks, pumps, etc.) already exists. It's just a matter of putting biodiesel into the tanks instead of dinodiesel.

[ Parent ]

Wasteful in terms of what? (none / 0) (#137)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:20:28 AM EST

Modern farming is incredibly wasteful.

It may waste calories, maybe, but overall modern farming is the best use of the current resources to produce the current products. Economics assures that.

What I'm trying to say is that biodiesel isn't any better than just using plain oil and is, probably, alot less efficient - unless you power those combines, fertilizer, etc, with some other form of renewable energy like solar power.

I say biodiesel is better, because it's a domestic product. You can replace the oil going into the system with biodiesel itself. But the point wasn't whether it was better or worse. The point was it doesn't matter if we run out of oil, we can just make more.



[ Parent ]
Coping with demand. (none / 0) (#128)
by Anonymous Hiro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:23:11 AM EST

Thing is if everyone starts using biodiesel that works out to a LOT of vegetable oil.

Currently the global crude oil production is about 80 million barrels a day. one barrel = about 159 litres.
12.7 billion litres a day.
(470,640TJ/day at about 37MJ/litre.).

Global vegetable oil production = 90 million tons/year. One kg = about 1.086 litres.
0.267 billion litres a day.
(9,907TJ/day at about 37-38MJ/litre as well.).

About FIFTY times more land for vegetable oil production needed at current efficiencies.

I'll be happy if my figures are incorrect, so tell me if they are. But if I'm correct it doesn't look good does it?

Another thing, how much would biodiesel cost if it was made without help of any petroleum products?

If petroleum gets expensive sure biodiesel etc are decent alternatives, but it sure is going to be a big pain whatever it is. And we better be prepared - otherwise we may not have enough resources saved up for a successful switch - have to crash and burn first.


[ Parent ]

Then the environmentalists will get their way... (none / 0) (#134)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:08:57 AM EST

and we'll stop using so much oil. Seriously though, you raise a good point. While some of the land which is currently unused would just start getting used (and creating oxygen to combat CO2 emissions), global supply most likely would go down. But at those prices you're going to see solar and other forms of power also become viable, and the higher prices will most likely cause a lower quantity to be demanded. Hybrid cars are already coming into production, allowing other forms of energy to be used other than combustion, but maintaining that combustion-powered accelleration we've all grown to love.

If petroleum gets expensive sure biodiesel etc are decent alternatives, but it sure is going to be a big pain whatever it is.

No more of a pain than conserving in the first place...

And we better be prepared - otherwise we may not have enough resources saved up for a successful switch - have to crash and burn first.

It seems to me that we will have many years warning before such a switch would become necessary. At least unless someone manages to invade and conquer Alaska.

In short I think we should worry about what's best for us, not what's best to lower the price fo oil. If it pollutes, tax it, if evil countries produce it, tax it even more, if getting it kills a few migratory birds, tax it even more.

Remind me to buy up a few farms some day before the shit goes down. Ah, land, the best long-long-long term investment.

Another thing, how much would biodiesel cost if it was made without help of any petroleum products?

I'd imagine not much more, since this $2.50 figure was a single person making it at home. I'd imagine the reduced costs from producing in bulk would greatly outweigh those costs.



[ Parent ]
Land as an investment (none / 0) (#199)
by Ricdude on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:54:38 PM EST

Remind me to buy up a few farms some day before the shit goes down. Ah, land, the best long-long-long term investment.
"You want investement advice, buy land. They ain't makin' any more of it." (Twain?)

[ Parent ]
That was wrong, of course. (none / 0) (#239)
by dark on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:55:40 PM EST

The Dutch have been making more land for centuries. They even created an entire new province this way.

[ Parent ]
Not necessarily (5.00 / 1) (#352)
by Anonymous Hiro on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 02:52:40 AM EST

Already vast tracts of forest have been burnt down in Indonesia to make room for oil palm plantations. This just based on current demand. So the environmentalists may not get their way.

Scaling up oil palm plantations is well understood and I bet easily adapted to an expensive petroleum world (costs would be higher -land clearing, pesticide, fertilizer, fuel, transport, but still viable). Not sure how well solar and wind farms would do in comparison, esp if you want to convert the resulting energy to hydrogen or some other energy storage media.

The pain of noncheap energy would be considerable. Higher energy prices/costs would be a blow to the economy.

Compare a tropical rain forest with the arctic or antarctic. The lower energy costs of the former allow plentiful and diverse entities, many rather inefficient in terms of energy use (but maybe efficient in other terms - e.g. material ).

Sure you get fitter more efficient entities, but you'd get fewer as well. Many things will no longer be viable. Even hybrid/fuel cell cars might be a lot less viable compared to bikes and trains.

But I figure we'll have enough cheap petroleum for my generation and the next. The greater danger seems to be killing ourselves before the petroleum issue becomes a problem.

[ Parent ]

sea vegetables (none / 0) (#155)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:55:18 AM EST

there is 6 times as much water as land or something.

[ Parent ]
and you cant pull energy goo out of the ground (none / 0) (#161)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:59:33 AM EST

at least thats what they said in the 1800s

[ Parent ]
Umm... Greed? (4.50 / 8) (#35)
by coryking on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:07:27 PM EST

How does greed factor into this? Why would I extract this oil for $14 a barrel when I get get it much, much cheaper somewhere elser? How is this bad? It's not greed, it's simple supply & demand.

Besides, sometime in the future, technology will probably push this cost down to something more reasonable.

Greed. (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by MSBob on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:09:41 PM EST

Because it's still economically viable to exploit tar sands it's just that profit margins are much thiner compared to traditional oil wells.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
It's not bad though (5.00 / 2) (#40)
by coryking on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:14:07 PM EST

Thats just economics and rational behavior. Oh wait, you mean rational behavior is predicated on greed? Oh, so it is greedy.

However, greed has a negative associatation, I dont associate what is happening with "bad" or "wrong" - it's just it's cheaper for them to extract oil elseware. Nothing wrong with that. I would rather you say "it is not cost effective" rather then saying "Those creedy fat cats, always screwing up everything". The latter is loaded, and shows a fucked up fairytale world view, the former is more closer to the truth.

[ Parent ]

And yet it remains greed. (3.75 / 4) (#51)
by nevauene on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:20:23 AM EST

Funny thing about morality (and foresight) is that it is occasionally incompatible with what makes good business sense in the short term. If self-interest and strict pragmatism ran the world then we'd still be throwing rocks at each other, growling 'uRRrRRGGhhh'. I hate to be obvious, but the same sort of morally vacant calculation drove men like Stalin - far more efficient, after all, to simply sacrifice millions of lives (which were, rationally considered, not particularly useful or valuable) rather than delay mass industrialization by another few decades or demilitarize. Such extreme comparisons beg for someone to call Modified Godwin's Law, but maybe it's not so far off the mark - some of the worst evils of communism (and fascism) were a logical extension of exactly this kind of thinking, as are some of the worst evils of 'democracies' today.

Not that I don't see your point, not that I fail to see the obvious business-sense of using the oil that yields 1000% more profit than closer-to-home sources with a couple bucks on the barrel at best. But wouldn't it be nice to see businessmen being a little more forward-looking than the quarterlies every once in awhile? To recognize the advantages of holding off on all that easy light crude, trying instead to develop more efficent ways of drawing from tar sand, for the sake of increased political stability? Seems better to get expensive oil from friendly nations where it is plentiful and very available, rather than embark on imperial adventures abroad to secure the cheap & profitable stuff.

Same sort of problem arises with environmental issues. It seems obvious to most people that a concerted effort to contain global warming and avoid expending limited natural resources is in the long-run best interests of everyone on the planet, including businesses. But to someone who can only see a few inches in front of his face, it seems far more 'rational' to pretend we're not fucking up the environment, to advocate irresponsible and isolationist policies rather than take sincere measures to combat it which would hurt the bottom line - which of course matters far more than what might become of people born long after we're dead. It gets so absurd that it becomes more 'rational' to fund think tanks dedicated to debunking established science, or to pad the pockets of corrupt politicians, than it is to just spend the bucks to cap emissions. Hell, third world countries aren't going to do it, why the fuck should we?

Greed has a negative association for very good reasons. Anybody narrow and foolish enough to think that greed really is good, or that self-interest (or national interest) and perfect rationality are the only criteria worth considering, deserves what they get.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Indeed (2.33 / 3) (#53)
by coryking on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:31:16 AM EST

Because if greed wan't good, then communism would have succeded. Greed, and self interest is the catylist of our society. If that is good or not is up in the air, but to deny that humans act mostly out of self interest, and worse, based public policy on that wrong assumption is foolish.

As for global warming, perhaps it's because a good swath of people (myself included) remain skeptical about any long term climate predictions such as global warming.

[ Parent ]

Bullshit. (2.20 / 5) (#92)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:48:10 AM EST

but to deny that humans act mostly out of self interest, and worse, based public policy on that wrong assumption is foolish.

Humans will act mostly out of so-called self-interest when they are subordinated to a system that leaves them little choice but to do so.

Capitalism subordinates all social activities, without exception, to its internal dynamics and characteristics. How do you not act in your self-interest (within the scope of capitalism) in a capitalist society? How? What, by building a commune somewhere? You're not isolating yourself from society's economics by doing that - come on, for the most obvious example, you still have to buy the land.

But no, capitalist "self-interest" is not some genetically inherent characteristic of humans. However, the system projects a superstructure which is self-sustaining, and which is reflected in all human activities.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

What part of (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:55:35 AM EST

communism has failed miserably as an economic system did you miss? It's a fairy tale view of economics. It hs been tried, many places, by manay people, and invariably, it's been thrown out because it does not produce results comparable with capitailsm.
It's not the lefty excuse that the Russians didn't do it right, it's that the system doesn't work. Get over it.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]
What part of ... (3.33 / 3) (#114)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:08:42 AM EST

"squawk, squawk!" did you miss?

This isn't a debate about communism as an economic system. If it were, the first thing I would gape at is your suggestion that communism has ever existed as an economic system.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Gape away (2.00 / 4) (#142)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:19:15 AM EST

No such system will ever be constructed, because people acting in their own self-interest will abuse the system until it collapses upon itself.

Self-interest has nothing to do with capitalism. Toddlers argue over toys and food. Animals eat their young in times of dire stress.


[ Parent ]

Counter-revolutionaries will be liquidated (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by bankind on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:14:22 PM EST

If it were, the first thing I would gape at is your suggestion that communism has ever existed as an economic system.

Well, the case can be made that China in the 1950's was an example in a commune organized state. But the problem of feeding urban populations through a series of state set prices led to a couple million to starve to death.

You can argue about the whys? within a Marxist dialectic, however perhaps the most recognized interpretation is that China had not significantly developed its market economy before attempting a communist economy (same same in Vietnam). So, what are these two States doing now? Socialists systems with market orientations. Unless, you debunk their entire system as crap (which means you believe their socialist theoreticians are shit and that you're racists against East Asians), you must accept the current agendas of the Marxists States to adopt market orientation as following the Marxist model of economic development, if you are a Marxist. In other words, if the practicing commies all play the market, why aren't you?

Maybe you need a hug, or your dad is a CEO, but basically anyone, anywhere that is against market development does so for personal reasons and not in accordance with the standards set by global revolutionary directives. In other words, you're an individual, a counter revolutionary, and a threat to the communist system.

Your activities are being watched and our committee is discussing your future rehabilitation.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

F: go back to grade school (5.00 / 1) (#191)
by infinitera on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:19:42 PM EST

Even such a simple and aged document as the manifesto clearly states that communism is a stateless goal; even Lenin acknowledges that his creation was far from state socialism. This is simple reading comprehension, no word twisting involved. The closest thing to a communist revolution in the world was Ho Chi Minh.

[ Parent ]
Economics doesn't factor into communism at all. (5.00 / 2) (#314)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 01:00:35 AM EST

Communism is a spiritual belief, not an economic one. They just use the economic pretext to make their point -- since people care more about money than they do about spirituality.

Plus, economics is the favorite stumbling block for the communists -- like blood transfusions for the Watchtower Society, for example.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

What the fuck (3.66 / 6) (#173)
by bc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:56:18 AM EST

How do you not act in your self-interest (within the scope of capitalism) in a capitalist society? How?

By doing lots of things. LOTS. The fundamental fact of capitalism, or, "people acting freely according to their interests and those of their community", is that to get anywhere at all you must serve the community. You have to, to survive! This is called society, and it has been the same since Homo Erectus.

Poor? Get a job, put your body, mind and skills at the service of your fellow man in return for something you want in exchange. Rich? Well christ, you aren't going to get anywhere with all that money and property, it is going to be useless to you, unless you put it at the service of society.

Capitalism is all about people working together voluntarily, for the common good and their own interests.

Just because you have some insane dream of an impossible and refuted-in-practice-and-theory variant of socialism you wish to force on us all, there's no need to start distorting what capitlism is and painting the concept of "people working freely together for their own interests and those of the community" as some sort of embodiment of evil.

The potential tyranny your views represent scare me. I like being free.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

nice one (2.66 / 3) (#221)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:45:41 PM EST

The potential tyranny your views represent scare me. I like being free.

So says the wealthy young pup of the establishment. I'm sure you think that all of the people sweeping the floors at the local rail station are equally as jubilant about the delicate beauty of capitalism's ruthlessness. I challenge you to find any person that has wound up on capitalism's wrong end (which is about 90% of people) that will applaud your trite and utterly cynical speech.

Wake up. Rich people don't take their wealth and "put it at the service of society". They buy ever larger houses, more cars, rare and exotic items from war-ravaged parts of the world, diets with caloric levels hundreds of times higher than what they need, fences to keep it all away from the commoners, and the salaries of police and politicians to keep things the way they are.

[ Parent ]

Whatever (5.00 / 2) (#246)
by bc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:24:33 PM EST

So says the wealthy young pup of the establishment.

Eh? Don't tell me what I am. I'm up from the streets.

I'm sure you think that all of the people sweeping the floors at the local rail station are equally as jubilant about the delicate beauty of capitalism's ruthlessness.

If you mean "they understand that an honest man works for an honest day's pay, and doesn't steal from others or sit about whining", I'm pretty sure you are right.

What the fuck is this, sitting on your arse going on about people working in railway stations as though they are in such awful working conditions and yearning to overthrow capitalism. Apart from the palpable fucking snobbishness of this, there's the point that it is a typical view of "wealthy young pups of the establishment" where (surprise!) the great majority of self-styled anti-capitalists hail from. You are nothing but a little ponce, and I fancy that if you went down to the railways station and started saying to the floorsweepers there "aww diddums, poor widdle working class man is so oppressed, let me take care of you" you'd swiftly get a punch on the nose and be told to be on your way. These people do indeed embrace capitalism. In fact, here's a newsflash: just about everybody in the entire planet embraces capitalism and the values of capitalism, and its efficacy is demonstrated every single day in the form of the billions of employed and gainfully working and wealthy. The only people that don't are patronising, awful, atrocious middle class fuckwits who are especially snobbish and living in a fantasy world.

Rich people don't take their wealth and "put it at the service of society". They buy ever larger houses, more cars, rare and exotic items from war-ravaged parts of the world, diets with caloric levels hundreds of times higher than what they need, fences to keep it all away from the commoners

Self contradictory. What you mean is "rich people don't put their wealth at the service of society, except when they are buying things from that society that keep house builders employed, car manufacturers busy, provide an income to war-ravaged regions of the world [wtf? I didn't know afghanistani and Somalian products were all the rage. If only they were - those countries would have a better income. If only what you said here were remotely true], and farmers and indeed fence manufacturers in business. Oh, and they pay the majority of our taxes too."

You make me laugh, mate!

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

aye, matey (4.00 / 2) (#254)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:52:46 PM EST

In fact, here's a newsflash: just about everybody in the entire planet embraces capitalism and the values of capitalism, and its efficacy is demonstrated every single day in the form of the billions of employed and gainfully working and wealthy.

Socialist societies, for all their faults, tend to have much lower unemployment (the metric you have chosen here) than capitalist countries. Compare socialized northern Europe and Scandinavia to the rest of the EU. Compare East Germany before and after re-unification. So much for your efficacious benefits of capitalist exploitation of workers.

It's true that some people work themselves up from poverty to sublime riches, and that's what keeps a lot of people going. But that's no excuse to pull the social safety net for everyone else that's not willing or able to take advantage of society to get ahead.

Also, I will call you out on your pretense that you are "up from the streets". I think it's a lie, one that nobody can corroborate, but a canard nonetheless. I grew up in a poor hispanic neighborhood in Dallas on food stamps, welfare, and medicaid. I'm half mulatto, half Mexican. Don't ever try to insult me by comparing your background to mine, ever again.

...except when they are buying things from that society that keep house builders employed, car manufacturers busy...

Those workers need to keep busy if Pharaoh's tomb is to be ready on time. If you also consider the living conditions of a BMW or Mercedes assembly line worker to those of its typical customers, does that tell you anything? Anything besides something utterly banal like "the worthless fucks should have worked harder in school"... The natural order of predator and prey, or parasite and host is well-represented in your model capitalist societies.

You make me laugh, mate!

Likewise, my good friend. It's all good.

[ Parent ]

Huh (5.00 / 2) (#259)
by bc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:23:44 PM EST

Socialist societies, for all their faults, tend to have much lower unemployment (the metric you have chosen here) than capitalist countries.

This is hugely debateable. What about socialist countries like the USSR, old Communist China, and so on? I suppose if they are sending their unemployed to the gulags and re-education camps it will keep unemployment down..

Calling Scandinavia properly socialist is eminently debatable, seeing as - gosh - the people employed in it work for private enterprise by and large. Those countries owe what wealth they have to private enterprise and the work of their citizens, not daddy government, which is determined to drag their already creaking economies into the gutter with overbearing taxes.

Perhaps you should look at things more widely. EG, continental Europe with its wionderful unemployment rates ranging from 12% (France & Germany) to 20% (Spain), and compare and contrast to the US (4%) and the UK (6%). Seems like a heavy price to pay, doesn't it? And of course an average national income in the US of $35,000 as compared to a puny $20k in most european countries, and quite often a lot less. Millions unemployed for your paradise.

It is a very simple fact, easily observable in history and in the present world. more taxes and more government controls directly translate to increased unemployment and increased poverty.

But that's no excuse to pull the social safety net for everyone else that's not willing or able to take advantage of society to get ahead.

I don't want to pull the social safety net. Why, I have a great faith in society! I do want to pull the government "safety net", however. If you think the coerced creation of the government is at all representative of a free society helping out its brother man, then you are sadly deluded, for that is, again, self contradictory.

I think it's a lie, one that nobody can corroborate, but a canard nonetheless. I grew up in a poor hispanic neighborhood in Dallas on food stamps, welfare, and medicaid. I'm half mulatto, half Mexican. Don't ever try to insult me by comparing your background to mine, ever again.

Oh get stuffed, you Holy Roller. You don't know anything about my background, or I about yours. That you brought it up out of nowhere with absolutely no evidence and for no apparant reason other than your own ridiculous prejudices and, presumably, chip on the shoulder that some unfortunate USian minorities seem to have is your problem. But don't try and pull the poverty card on me, cos I have you beat.

If you also consider the living conditions of a BMW or Mercedes assembly line worker to those of its typical customers, does that tell you anything?

I believe BMW and Mercedes assembly line workers are rather well renumerated. What is your problem with that?

Why do you think one man is entitled to the products of the labour of another? If you are full of jealousy because other people have more money than you, perhaps you should steal it from them directly - go on, invade their house and take what they have earned. Don't hide behind the state having it do it for you. Don't think about, I dunno, getting that chip off your shoulder and earning some money yourself, or anything. Lord no! You are entitled to take wealth that others have created for your own purposes.

This is the other point, quite apart from the overweening sense of entitlement and abrogation of responsibility running through your post - the strange idea that wealth is zero sum, and that what rich people have is taken from the poor, and should be shared equally. Rather ignorant, unfortunately, as what the rich have is created, by themselves, and every time someone makes money and wealth it doesn't follow that somebody else somewhere else is getting poorer having it stolen from him.

It is amusing that your position, barely more advanced than ol' Homo Erectus picking up a rock and bashing it over his neighbour's head to take what he has hunted and made, depends on theft and yet asserts that this "theft" is the justification for the thieving. Eh.

"Predator and Prey" is also quite wrong. Unless I am grossly missled, this hyperbole just doesn't fit the idea of men freely working together and making contracts among themselves to serve each other. But hyperbole and flawed, ridulous analogies never stopped a national socialist!

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Arrogant dullard (5.00 / 1) (#262)
by DominantParadigm on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:32:03 PM EST

That would be you. Why not try convincing people that they should believe in the justice of property, instead of just telling them that they're wrong wrong wrong?

My best guess is that you don't believe a word you're saying.



Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Eh (none / 0) (#273)
by bc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:24:20 PM EST

Its gets boring doing that again and again and again, and going into it, and I don't generally bring it up until, well, it is somewhat relevant to the discussion at hand, which hasn't happened in this thread yet, you'll note, as the issue at hand is whether people under a capitalist system serve society or not, not whatever fiction is in your head.

Be sure to try again, this time with criticisms regarding the argument we are actually having.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Hmm. (none / 0) (#300)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:38:24 PM EST

No, I don't think the issue here is really whether "people under capitalism serve society or not." That's an interesting way of twisting it, though.

The real issue being discussed is whether capitalism itself serves society.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

The obvious answer. (5.00 / 2) (#345)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:51:07 PM EST

"The real issue being discussed is whether capitalism itself serves society."
-------------------------------------------------

If it didn't then why would it have existed, at least to some degree, since pretty much the dawn of human existance (i.e. barter)?

It seems pretty clear that it does "serve" society.

Is it the "best" possible system for society? Gee, I don't know... I'm not omnipotent.

I strongly suspect that's an impossible question.
Since society is made up of a multitude of individuals and each individual is going to have a somewhat different definition of what is "good" or "best" or "desirable". I'm not sure how you can even begin to go about determining what is "best" for society at large.

Furthermore individuals values are at least, in part, a product of their culture, upbringing and environment.... and these vary alot from culture to culture. I strongly suspect that what works as a good system in one situation will wind up sucking eggs in another.

I do know that capitalism is a system that has "worked" (at least as far as Western Civilization) fairly successfully for a very long time. It's been relatively stable, provided considerable material wealth, comfort and competitive advantage and people have by and large seemed comfortable with it.

Most attempts at instituting communist systems (U.S.S.R., China, North Korea, Paris Commune, etc) have, in my opinion at least, not stacked up very well in comparison.... and have been far more brutaly dehumanizing.

Now if you want to go mucking around with a system that is as basic and important to a human society as economics... and which has been "working" as effectively and has been relatively stable as capitalism has...then you are going to have to do alot more work then simply saying... "Hey, Valeko has this bright idea...I know it's flopped miserably most of the times it's been tried but lets just scrap everything we've got now and give it a go, shall we?" ..... to convince me that it even remotely approaches being a good idea.

Seriously, why do you feel the need to ram a system down peoples throats that most people want no part of?

[ Parent ]

you must be very embarrassed (4.00 / 2) (#272)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:16:54 PM EST

What about socialist countries like the USSR, old Communist China, and so on? I suppose if they are sending their unemployed to the gulags and re-education camps it will keep unemployment down...

Well, there went Old Faithful. I would never hold either of the old Stalinist-Maoist economies up as an example to which we should aspire. But look at still-reconstructing Vietnam or even the US blockaded state of Cuba. Almost zero unemployment. And let's be careful about holding up the US and the UK as star examples, where many of the unemployed are keeping themselves busy by sitting in prison cells. In Scandinavia, while it is admittedly a socialized capitalist region, the high taxes and cost controls keep it from getting out of control. Almost all utilities, mines, forests, and resource management systems are government-owned. That is quite close to state socialism. Poverty and unemployment exist at levels unheard of in the US, and most of their unemployment is transitory, while in the US, most unemployed workers spend at least 6 months without work.

I believe BMW and Mercedes assembly line workers are rather well renumerated. What is your problem with that?

I have a problem with your idea of the workers, who are leasing urban flats, being "well remunerated" as they manufacture cars for the doctors and lawyers. You can't seriously be naive enough to think that a worker making a Mercedes luxury sedan could ever afford one, or live at the level of one of the typical customers for that particular item... If you are, get a seeing eye dog or a minder to help you cross streets from now on.

Regardless, the fact that obscenely rich people indirectly employ the proles that make their baubles doesn't mean that it is a system that is fair or natural. That's just typical neocon "free market" sophistry.

This is the other point, quite apart from the overweening sense of entitlement and abrogation of responsibility running through your post - the strange idea that wealth is zero sum, and that what rich people have is taken from the poor, and should be shared equally.

No, it's not such a strange idea that having a few people with near-complete control over the livelihoods of 95% of the world isn't a good thing, and it isn't a natural or moral right, before the fact or after. And the sense of entitlement you detect, it's that mean independent streak that runs through the veins of every person that can think for himself. It's the sense that I am entitled to control over my own life, and that I never signed away that control to my landlord, my boss, or a boardroom full of suits somewhere in the tri-state area. Where in moral or natural law does it say that some fucking pinhead executive should be able to cut dozens or thousands of workers from the payrolls simply because it made the shareholders more money?

Gedanken experiment for you: go back in time and ask Rousseau whether the liberty of man meant that his private property should be protected by a standing army of police, or that he should be able to give his political opinions freely to his boss without fear of reprisal.

It is amusing that your position, barely more advanced than ol' Homo Erectus picking up a rock and bashing it over his neighbour's head to take what he has hunted and made, depends on theft and yet asserts that this "theft" is the justification for the thieving. Eh.

I take offense at your weak tu quoque, and have come to the conclusion that you really know nothing more than the standard "communism = gulag and taxes = extortion" brand of crypto-fascism that legitimizes the choices you have made in life. You have also chosen an example which, cravenly, puts as much distance between your point and reality as possible. People like you are deathly afraid of the fact that your moral and natural defense of property "rights" is as flimsy as it is diaphanous. There is simply no reason, other than a holdover from feudalism, for allowing a person to hold exclusive rights to land, natural resources, electromagnetic frequencies, or free and unrestricted travel between various parts of the world. You're just sputtering, spitting, and gasping at an obvious social crisis that you would rather have disappear than try to solve analytically or intellectually.

Give up, and as a "genuine article" kid from the streets I still think you are lying about your origins.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (5.00 / 3) (#281)
by bc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:12:37 PM EST

But look at still-reconstructing Vietnam or even the US blockaded state of Cuba. Almost zero unemployment.

Umm, to be perfectly honest, I think these are awful examples. There's a reason thousands of Cubans risk their lives in inflatable tires coming to the US, you know? And "US Blockades" isn't the sole answer, a lot of it has to do with the inherent tyranny of the Cuban dictatorship.

This is all by the by though. I feel fairly confident in pointing out that the freest economies on Earth are also the wealthiest, and the most unfree the poorest.

In Scandinavia, while it is admittedly a socialized capitalist region, the high taxes and cost controls keep it from getting out of control.

Don't you think these being tiny countries that are virtually monoethnic and monocultural has something to do with it? I do. Comparing Scandinavia to, say, New York, the Deep South of USia with its few-generation-removed-from-slaves consituency, and the urban hellholes of ol' Brittannia is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? And then saying this is down to the wonderful Scandinavian state?? Pffft. The cost controls seem to be working though; everything there is ruinously expensive. It is hard to get drunk stupid and cause a riot when the beer costs £5/pint. I knew there was a reason half the shopping crowd in Glasgow's Buchanan Street seems to be Norwegian!

That the vaunted socialist state is at the root of many of the social problems in USia and UKia, whether it is by, in UKia, forcibly relocating millions of people into the shittiest ghetto council housing ever known, or the failed expirement in nationalisation from the 40's to the 80's that ruined nearly every industry worth a damn and put millions on the dole, I won't get into.

I'll give the scandinavians this, they are culturally homogenous enough to have few social problems nomatter what happens. I've no doubt they could adopt hardcore Nazism and make it look good. Their economy isn't that great, nothing to write home about, but they have alleviated to some extent the negative side effects of socialism.

I have a problem with your idea of the workers, who are leasing urban flats, being "well remunerated" as they manufacture cars for the doctors and lawyers. You can't seriously be naive enough to think that a worker making a Mercedes luxury sedan could ever afford one, or live at the level of one of the typical customers for that particular item...

Oh no, I didn't say they earn as much as the people who buy what they produce. I don't think "well renumerated" means you can afford a Mercedes or BMW or some such status symbol. I do think it means you can afford a car, a house, afford to bring up a family, and live in reasonable comfort and perhaps have a holiday once a year. In other words, and entirely average sort of wage, in this day and age, and exactly what workers in German car factories can expect to get.

Asides from this, there's the more important point that the worker freely chooses to work for the employer for the stated amount of money. He must surely think it is a good deal, else presumably he would leave or get another job somewhere else. This is a contract freely made between employer and employee; who are you to interfere? What gives you this strange right to interfere in the business of others, may I ask?

No, it's not such a strange idea that having a few people with near-complete control over the livelihoods of 95% of the world isn't a good thing

I take issue with this. Do you have any evidence to support the idea that "a few people control the livelihoods of 95% of the world"? If so, who are they? The Elders of Zion? The Knight's Templar? :)

I would argue the opposite; the beauty of capitalism is that it gives everybody a stake. Every action a man makes, every purchase of one good over another, every decision to work for one company and not another, or start such and such a small business and not this other one, is a vote on who should be running what. Under capitalism, the owners of the means of production must take care to serve the needs of society or else, gosh, they'll wake up one day and find they don't own it anymore cos they have went bankrupt.

I suppose your argument here comes down to the idea that capitalism is down to force and oppression, the idea that the capitalist system necessarily makes for some mysterious happy few at the top who forcibly take what they own and ram it back down everybody's throats, or something. I don't think that is true; everything is voluntary. Capitalism is a vast web of voluntary contracts and trades between individuals.

Is my local shopkeeper a member of this caste of Fat Controllers too? He is, after all, in microcosm an example of a typical capitalist among the "owners". Is it a sin for him to sell us his products and employ people to keep the shop and all the rest? Or is it a question of scale - it is okay for him, but baddddd when it is a large multinational like Walmart? What makes the difference, if there is one? Does the fact that Walmart and other typical corporations are owned by millions of people through share options, pension schemes, and all the rest make any difference? Does the fact that the majority of the ownership of corporations is owned by fairly normal people in their hundreds of millions make a difference? Are they among the few "Fat Controllers" too?

People like you are deathly afraid of the fact that your moral and natural defense of property "rights" is as flimsy as it is diaphanous. There is simply no reason, other than a holdover from feudalism, for allowing a person to hold exclusive rights to land, natural resources, electromagnetic frequencies, or free and unrestricted travel between various parts of the world.

Of course there is. Property is perfectly natural. Do I own my mind? Check. What about my body? Check. What about things outside my body? Surely then it is just an externalisation of the same principle. Further, I believe it to be a natural law indeed. Every human society that I can think of has had property in some form or another. Even bloody mammals seem to have it in the form of "territory" and such, dogs and bones and all the rest. it seems fairly obvious to me that property is an extremely natural law that should not be abrogated, because I think that proprty rights are the first bullwark of all our rights - they are literally essential for our freedom. if you deny them, whats to stop you invading my house, stealing everything I have worked to create, or all sorts of other things, in principle? Not much, except a large collection of made up special cases that are purely arbitrary.

As for my origins, think what you like - I'm not about to state precisely what they are on a damned website, that's for sure!

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

re: Hmm (4.00 / 2) (#301)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:58:49 PM EST

This is all by the by though. I feel fairly confident in pointing out that the freest economies on Earth are also the wealthiest, and the most unfree the poorest.

If, by "free economy", you mean free trade, world socialism would be by definition the most free system by far. There would be no tariffs or duties of any kind! If you mean free of government regulation, you're seriously deluded. The US and UK are both highly regulated economies, just as much as northern Europe if you compare them to South American or African countries. Furthermore, your linear extrapolation is utterly meaningless, as the wealthiest countries in per capita GDP (Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland) are not the freest economies by your most likely (i.e., self-serving) definitions.

Do you have any evidence to support the idea that "a few people control the livelihoods of 95% of the world"? If so, who are they? The Elders of Zion? The Knight's Templar? :)

Yawn, they are normal people that exploit labor, profit from it, and then endow think tanks with scholars and stipends to extoll the virtues of capitalism. More than 75% of the world's wealth is held by less than 5% of the world's population. More than 50% is held by the top 2%. It's really the classical Marxist parable in action.

[ Parent ]

Well, no, not exactly. (none / 0) (#316)
by valeko on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 02:12:17 AM EST

If, by "free economy", you mean free trade, world socialism would be by definition the most free system by far. There would be no tariffs or duties of any kind! If you mean free of government regulation, you're seriously deluded. The US and UK are both

The thrust of socialism isn't trade as espoused in capitalist terms - i.e. "free trade" implying commodity exchange. Various "barter" solutions are generally viewed as a temporary coping mechanism, rather than the expression of some natural human tendency. Yes, it's normal to want to give someone B in exchange for A, but the way this happens under capitalism (i.e. the system of commodity exchange) makes it self-serving to the needs of capitalism itself - that is, capitalism as an end in itself, rather than as a mechanism for resource allocation. Everything from marketing to profitability fits into that; it's not the expression, in capitalistic form, of some underlying "objective" reality. No, it's just capitalist reality.

For example, when you find a certain type of industrial pocess to be unprofitable, this is not necessarily (although sometimes it is, in the case of the tar sands) because it is more difficult and mechanically inefficient. These can play a role, but it is far more important that it fit into the existing structure of productive forces, match with existing cost structures, and be "competitive," which again ties it down to a certain state of affairs as determined by the market in and of itself and entirely for itself. At least, that's the classical situation; with violent global capitalism supported by state thuggery, things are a lot more complex. But the essence of the matter is the same; prospects for doing various things in capitalism are determined by dynamics entirely internal to capitalism and not necessarily having a basis in reason or human necessity.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Not really (5.00 / 2) (#332)
by bc on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 09:33:24 AM EST

If you mean free of government regulation, you're seriously deluded. The US and UK are both highly regulated economies, just as much as northern Europe if you compare them to South American or African countries.

I don't quibble with the UK and US being highly regulated economies. Lord, how much wealthier everybody could be if this were done away with.

I think you are being disingenuous to claim that they are less regulated than continental Europe, where an employer can't hire&fire as he wishes (and therefore just doesn't hire unless he absolutely *must*), and where you can't start a business without meeting a judge and filling in 50,000 forms for the local government department, and jump through all sorts of hoops. Sort of like Cubans to the US, there's a reason there's been a huge influx of Frenchies to the south of the UK in recent years, and that reason is that they can freely work as they choose.

Yawn, they are normal people that exploit labor, profit from it, and then endow think tanks with scholars and stipends to extoll the virtues of capitalism. More than 75% of the world's wealth is held by less than 5% of the world's population.

You are just repeating what you have already said, not actually answering my question.

These numbers sound suspicious anyway. 5% of the world's population is 300 Million people. And 75% of the world wealth is literally created in the west (not stolen from the third world). It almost looks like you are saying that the entire population of the west owns most of the world's wealth, which they create by themselves among themselves, without recourse to the third world. What exactly is the point of this?

Third world countries need property laws that work, a decent legal system, and to create free trade among themselves and let loose the creative freedom of Man. Nobody in Somalia is ever going to get wealthy while most of them aren't allowed to start a business, or trade property in any way. I suppose you think them not being allowed to do this is some sort of just paradisical state though, or something.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

*laugh* (1.00 / 1) (#305)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:44:46 PM EST

Asides from this, there's the more important point that the worker freely chooses to work for the employer for the stated amount of money. He must surely think it is a good deal, else presumably he would leave or get another job somewhere else. This is a contract freely made between employer and employee; who are you to interfere? What gives you this strange right to interfere in the business of others, may I ask?

The "freedom" to make these contracts is freedom in name only - it is juridical freedom. It doesn't matter what the technical definition of an employment contract is; the fact remains that wage-earners are coerced into working for the profits of others in some capacity or another. And market conditions aren't and will never be such that if I am dissatisfied with my current work, I'll just go change jobs. Yeah, you wish. That kind of "freedom" is the domain of privilege. In reality, it's a choice: work or starve. It's a choice that, along with the other misery of capitalism, is most acute and concetrated outside of the broad strata of privilege in the imperialist states, though, since they live at everyone else's expense through an economic system of global plunder.

I don't think that is true; everything is voluntary.

Yeah-hah ... voluntary! Sure! Next you'll be diagnosing drapetomania. You would do much better a slave plantation owner, with your notions about the "voluntary" nature of being a cog in the capitalist machine.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Not this again (5.00 / 1) (#331)
by bc on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 09:19:43 AM EST

Yes, human beings have to work to survive. Boo hoo. The isn't an iniquitous detail of the "capitalist system", that bogeyman, it is just a fact of life, its a fact of nature, mate - you want stuff? You'll have to work, somehow, to get it.

Do you think that a man living entirely alone on an island is "coerced" because he has to work to sustain himself by hunting, farming etc? He has too, or else he will starve. Yet he can't be being coerced, because nobody else is around! Jesus, the cognitive dissonance if you were ever in this situation would be something to behold - "Help! I'm being oppressed! I have to work! But there is nobody to blame :("

A man in the midst of society is in exactly the same situation. Nobody is forcing him to do anything. Why is so difficult to understand the difference between being forced by unfortunate circumstance, and forced by your fellow man? And why do you move from one, to the laughable "slave plantation" analogy, without seeing this difference?

And market conditions aren't and will never be such that if I am dissatisfied with my current work, I'll just go change jobs. Yeah, you wish. That kind of "freedom" is the domain of privilege.

What the fuck? Things have moved on since the 18th century, valeko - why, this happens all the time, and it is something that the great majority of people in the west can do, and do indeed do, all the goddamned time.

But then I am forgetting, perhaps, that marxism (strangely living on despite being intellectually refuted in about 1880) these days has become all globalist because of this very reason. In the west, these poor criticisms no longer apply for the great majority, and there are no masses yearning to be free and there is not a huge amount of social povery, compared to past times, and everybody embraces capitalism in all its natural rightness instead of embracing unnatural intellectual creations like Marxism, so the Marxists have replaced the "proletariat" with the "third world" and the "bourgeiosie" with the "first world", and one lives off the back of the other, according to this view. Unfortunately for them and their "the west owns 90% of the world's wealth" baloney, the third world doesn't contribute much in terms of wealth or indeed resources to anybody at all - if they did, perhaps they'd be able to make some goddamned money. And that 90% wealth is created entirely in the west by the free actions of its inhabitants.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Nonsense. (5.00 / 1) (#346)
by valeko on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:58:35 PM EST

Yes, human beings have to work to survive. Boo hoo. The isn't an iniquitous detail of the "capitalist system", that bogeyman, it is just a fact of life, its a fact of nature, mate - you want stuff? You'll have to work, somehow, to get it.

That's exactly right, and it's also not at all the work I was referring to. There is no question that people can't sit around on their laurels while someone else feeds them, clothes them, and puts a shelter over their heads, and that is not the premise of communism. If that has been your literal interpretation of it in the past, well, what can I say except that you don't know what you're talking about?

The problem with the nature of this work under capitalism is not with the fact that it's work, but that it is work for someone else's profits. The system of social organisation, arrangement of productive forces, and resource allocation under capitalism isn't designed to let you, so to speak, "work for yourself." Instead, you are working for someone else, allowing someone else to accumulate by using you as an input in the productive process. This wouldn't be so bad in and of itself if not for that glorious "competition" that drives profit maximisation and does things like put rape of the ecosystem on overdrive. This wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that all social processes, without exception, are subordinated to the dynamics of capital. It is like fish being caught in an artificially induced current; the objection of the fish is not to the idea of swimming in order to survive, but swimming against these preposterous currents and being whipped around by the sheer force of the water for some ulterior purpose. This, my good friend, is not freedom -- it is not the voluntary association of individuals working for themselves in an equal, mutually beneficial relationship. That is a most laughable myth. The only thing that this cycle does concetrate class antagonisms.

But yes, you are correct that people generally have to work to subsist - capitalism is a system of social organisation that provides a framework in which you can do that. But the nature of this work, how it is renumerated, and the overall framework in which all of this takes place is entirely the central arena of class struggle.

Of course, many are quick to say, "so, you don't like living in the 'real world'? Capitalism is wonderful because it gives you the freedom not to! Go live on some federal land, or start a commune and grow your own damn food! Capitalism is great! Capitalism is great! Capital akbar!" Nonsense. By doing that, you've just chosen a different living arrangement, not emancipated yourself from the oppressive economics of society. Not to mention that most people don't relish the thought of a stone-age existence of subsistence farming. The point of socialism isn't to restrict resource distribution, but to enhance it - to make it free of the constraints that Capital places upon it for its own self-serving ends.

the third world doesn't contribute much in terms of wealth or indeed resources to anybody at all - if they did, perhaps they'd be able to make some goddamned money.

That's bullshit. There's a very good reason why the only thing they're good for is colonial-style raw material, and can't "contribute much in terms of wealth or indeed resources." It's called lopsided development, and it is a distinguishing characteristic of the imperialist stage of capitalism on the global plane. Not only is the development lopsided in favour of the exploiters, but it is according to -- you guessed it, internal dynamics that have no meaning outside the capitalist system. Third World(TM) countries shouldn't have to "contribute wealth" of any kind, because contributing wealth means running in the hamster wheel of the imperialist dominion. It means, for example, being "competitive" according to terms entirely internal to the anarchy of capitalism and having little relationship to actual, rational necessities of humanity.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Response (3.66 / 3) (#373)
by ubu on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:35:40 PM EST

The problem with the nature of this work under capitalism is not with the fact that it's work, but that it is work for someone else's profits. The system of social organisation, arrangement of productive forces, and resource allocation under capitalism isn't designed to let you, so to speak, "work for yourself." Instead, you are working for someone else, allowing someone else to accumulate by using you as an input in the productive process.

I'm thrilled that bc has the patience and thoroughness to bring the conversation so far, to this point. For once some substantive things are being said.

Even under a capitalist system, you are free to "work for yourself". You could raise a farm on whatever land you possess, you could construct your own home, you could keep whatever livestock you have the means to support, and you could fashion all the clothing, home furnishings, and amusement you like. It has always been so.

When bc and I say "capitalism" we mean "unfettered Society of Men", which is a state of affairs that inevitably leads to cooperation. This cooperation has been seen in many forms and known by many names: employment, specialization, division of labor, economic organization, "The Corporation", jurisprudence, etc., etc. ad nauseum. When humans coexist in Society, they make voluntary partial sacrifices of their own libertine condition. They do this entirely out of self-interest, partly because anti-social behavior causes direct harm and suffering, and partly because positively Social cooperation causes prosperity.

Cooperation in every case requires sacrifice. When you cooperate, you are explicitly not "having it your way" in every way, all the time. Economic cooperation means voluntarily accepting constraints upon your liberty for the sake of valuable economic concessions, like wages and other benefits. What is meant by "working for someone else", in the context of free Society, is that your primary compensation is measured in wages, and that your counterpart's primary compensation is in labor. It's simply a shorthand reference to a particular type of social arrangement. It does not mean that you are owned, or that your cooperation is in any way non-voluntary.

This wouldn't be so bad in and of itself if not for that glorious "competition" that drives profit maximisation and does things like put rape of the ecosystem on overdrive.

I don't know what this means. I think the word "rape" has a lot to do with my confusion. I think I know what it means, but I haven't the slightest idea what it has to do with an ecosystem. Also, do something about the sleazy ambiguity in "overdrive". Pretty please.

This wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that all social processes, without exception, are subordinated to the dynamics of capital.

No, that's wrong. You are confusing the unit of measurement and transaction — capital — with the positive motivation — human desire, human action. What is voluntary is in every case predicated upon human desires, and therefore the aggregate result of the billions of individual human actions which make up Society is entirely dependent upon the complex interplay between them.

Capital is inanimate. It has no potential or kinetic energy. It does not act. It is merely a concept used to describe and quantify the results of human action. If there are "dynamics of capital", they are utterly human dynamics, and they are present everywhere humans are present.

It is like fish being caught in an artificially induced current; the objection of the fish is not to the idea of swimming in order to survive, but swimming against these preposterous currents and being whipped around by the sheer force of the water for some ulterior purpose.

That is the angry objection of those of us who resist the State: that it is an "artificially induced current". Whereas, the naturally-occurring eddies and currents produced by the swimming actions of the billions of fish who surround me may be objectionable, but can hardly be expected to abate except at the behest of some force with greater authority than any fish possesses — indeed, greater authority than many fish possess in sum ("democracy" be damned).

I beg of you to consider that this is not a matter of preference. I am not an anarcho-capitalist because I prefer to be an anarcho-capitalist. I am an anarcho-capitalist because I recognize the fundamental intellectual dishonesty in resisting the purely social and economic influence of others while championing forcible State intervention on your own behalf. If the reigns of the world were in my hands, you may rest assured, I would be every inch the self-interested despot you are. But I recognize the futility of wishing for such unilateral hegemony over the lives of others, not to mention the immorality.

capitalism is a system of social organisation that provides a framework in which you can do that.

No. Capitalism isn't a social organization and it isn't a framework. Capitalism is, and always will be, everywhere humans exist. As a capitalist I do not propose or insist that you act in such-and-such a way, or that you spend your money on so-and-so. I don't even propose that you have money, or that you spend it, or that you work, or anything. I rest 100% assured that you will do these things with or without my help or insistence, and I instead expend effort to make the greatest use of you.

Socialism is a State-impose framework whose intent is to constrain Society in order to achieve pre-determined outcomes. That is what you are describing.

But the nature of this work, how it is renumerated, and the overall framework in which all of this takes place is entirely the central arena of class struggle.

As far as I know capitalism imposes no absolute constraints upon remuneration. If you want to propose a secret, hidden method by which remuneration is fixed in an unfettered Society, by all means propose it. The only fixed constraints I have ever seen imposed upon remuneration (in view of creating "class" or "class struggle") are the constraints imposed by State agents. One wonders that you are continually making the argument against Socialism on your own behalf.

The point of socialism isn't to restrict resource distribution, but to enhance it - to make it free of the constraints that Capital places upon it for its own self-serving ends.

Now that we understand "capital" as a proxy for Humanity, we can see that you mean something along the lines of "make it free of the constraints that Humans place upon it for their own self-serving ends". The obvious follow-up question is, "if resources should not serve Humanity, them whom, exactly, should they serve?" Most anarcho-capitalists suspect that the dirty, secret answer is "the socialists". In championing various "environmental" causes socialists generally seem to place various non-human (and even inanimate!) parties at a position of paramount importance: Mother Earth, for one. That these causes often propose policies which lead to human suffering and even death on a widespread scale gives me tremendous cause for alarm with regard to your motives, valeko.

Third World(TM) countries shouldn't have to "contribute wealth" of any kind, because contributing wealth means running in the hamster wheel of the imperialist dominion.

Thanks for the rhetoric, but you need to explain what you mean. On the one hand, you might be referring to the extra-legal activities of the CIA, the IMF, the World Bank, and the Bush Administration. All of these are anti-capitalist, anti-social, and frankly, wicked organizations. On the other hand, you might be referring to the legal activities of organizations which voluntarily employ labor in the Third World when they might... otherwise... not. Does it upset you that Nike is hiring Filipinos? Would you rather they didn't? Frankly, I don't remember Nike tearing down the gleaming clean, modern housing of Manila's working class, only to replace it with broken hovels. That never happened. If your argument is that Nike has taken something from the Filipinos, as they say, habeus corpus! But if, on the other hand, you are shouting that Nike has not given the Filipinos enough, then you should definitely refrain from using words like "rape" and "exploit" when you make such an audacious argument.

It means, for example, being "competitive" according to terms entirely internal to the anarchy of capitalism and having little relationship to actual, rational necessities of humanity.

Yeah, but no. Actually, it doesn't get any closer to the actual, rational necessities of humanity than when it's described by the "anarchy of capitalism". What irks you, as we all know, is that those "necessities" don't track your worldview quite as closely as you think they ought to. And that's a good reason to stomp your foot and throw a tantrum, if I ever heard one.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
I disagree. (5.00 / 1) (#374)
by valeko on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 08:25:23 PM EST

I'm thrilled that bc has the patience and thoroughness to bring the conversation so far, to this point. For once some substantive things are being said.

That's not a praiseworthy trait of bc, although I agree that substantive things are being said. However, I don't feel it is conceited to cite my own patience and thoroughness, since I usually have little desire to continuously bite on bc's semitrolls. In any case, your response, whether I agree with it or not, appears to be based on sincere beliefs, and that's something I can appreciate.

Even under a capitalist system, you are free to "work for yourself". You could raise a farm on whatever land you possess, you could construct your own home, you could keep whatever livestock you have the means to support, and you could fashion all the clothing, home furnishings, and amusement you like. It has always been so.

It seems to me that being free to accumulate some micro-property of your own is more like contenting onesself with the table scraps left from the gargantuan feast of your exploiters - a feast of superprofits and virtually uninhibited, arbitrary economic power. Also, the burden is you on to explain why the millions of starving, impoverished, and ill of the so-called Third World apparently aren't entitled to it. There are a number of popular immaculate answers to that, but they are given in terms of the capitalist system itself.

For example, you could say, as bc does, that these countries just don't produce any wealth, so that's why they don't make any money and can't get any food or medicine with it. Another answer is that they have tyrannical governments that mismanage the economy and don't allow capitalism to develop freely there, but this is a generalisation that really just doesn't hold up. Still another answer is that for whatever world-historic reasons, the forward march of modernity has simply passed these hapless people by, and it is the West's job to promote their development in whatever manner they see fit. In any of these three levels of abstraction, the reasons for their suffering cannot be explained in terms that are not mimetically capitalist impulses of thought. Why should they have to produce any wealth? Why do they need to "modernise" in accordance with global economic imperatives (i.e. be a haven for multinational corporations and foreign investment). Why should their governments promote the development of capitalism just to give their people access to basic human needs? If you think about it, it's really quite irrational, and defies basic human sensibilities - it's like farmers pouring tonnes upon tonnes of milk out onto the street during the Great Depression because of a total price collapse. In any of these instances, you are driven, as less a capitalist and more a human being, to ask (1) Why, (2) Can't we do better than that? I propose that we can do better than that. What is Capital's reply? "No, no, don't you see? You have to play by my rules! They're the only rules of resource allocation that exist in the universe! I said so!"

But anyway, rather than creating a spiral of "angels dancing on the head of a pin" discussion by dwelling on these macrocosms of the sheer, base absurdity of capitalism, I'll be more broad and hopefully brief.

First, I object to your equation of any government action with socialism. The history of capitalism proves this very well; there stands a mighty Iron Fist behind the respectable facade of the Invisible Hand. In a positive but ahistoric observation, you make allusions to the fact that many of the "excesses" of this are anti-capitalist, anti-social, and wicked in nature, but refuse to recognise that statement as a repudiation of the heritage of capitalism, and, in fact, its historical basis.

Second, I think you've incorrectly characterised the relationship between capitalism and humanity. You are correct, of course, that capital is not an organic lifeform, nor a fluid, nor in any way autonomous from human activity. However, what is meant by capital is not necessarily money or machinery or land, but any means of production in human society. Capital is an economic force, and its relationship with its wielders must be viewed as a dialectical interplay; those who wield the powerful force of capital are not in any way exempt from the effects of its application or its basic motion. I suppose it can be very loosely likened to some kind of powerful, volatile gas; you can possess it (in the proper container), but you can't really control it, and if it decides to "spontaniously" explode, you're not any more protected than anyone else. This is a very high level of abstraction of course, and is not mean to describe the ability of the rich to absorb the costs of various secular downturns and depressions.

What is clear here is that the capitalist is only an agent of the laws of capital's behaviour, that it is a system complete with its own limitations, tendencies, inner compulsions, division of labour, and so on. Yet at the same time, only human activity according to the exigencies of capital (meaning also that it comes with batteries included; i.e. a state to support it) holds it in place. Thus, while one wields capital, one is simultaneously wielded by it -- this is precisely why we say the relationship is dialectical. Or, as Raymond Lotta put it, "The capitalist is a capitalist not because of what he wants to do, but because of what he must do." On a macro scale, this is an excellent illustration of why society is subordinate to capital, all the while replicating it, working within it, and manipulating it. It's not an option, it's not a luxury rug you can just pull out from under your feet; it is the system. Human activity is an expression of this fact, although as I hopefully make clear, it is not a mechanical deterministic relationship. But let us be clear -- capitalism is an expression of human activity in a systematic way that places certain limits and rules on the said human activity according to its own rules. It is not an arbitrary construct that is arrived at through organic cooperation; the most diplomatic way to say it is that it requires organic, concerted function because society can only be subordinated to one economic system.

To this end, I disagree with the tone of your premise that "capitalism is, and always will be, everywhere humans exist." This is true at a given state of productive relations, but that doesn't mean it can't be changed. What it does mean is that it can't simply be overthrown; it must be recast. And it is, in fact, a system of social organisation and productive relations. That you can't dictate to me literally, on a secular, day-by-day basis, what I will and won't do, doesn't change that. I am subordinate to the exigencies of the system, and must play within its pen. So are you, for that matter. Whether you accept this as a good thing or see it as an ultimate evil is where our disagreement lies.

Regarding class struggle: Class struggle is not an outgrowth of capitalism, but capitalism is the most advanced expression of class struggle in history. Class society far and away predates capitalism.

Concerning the Nike factory: While of course I believe that workers are, in the immediate sense, being paid dismally insufficient wages throughout the Third World, the real problem lies not in addressing their income level but in the fact that they are in a position where they have to work for Nike in the first place. If I ask why, what will you say? Well duh, Nike is the best-paying employer; supply and demand. My question would be a meta question: how did it get that way? The migration of labour-intensive production to cheaper labour markets is the exploitation of uneven development, sure, but how did this uneven development come to be? Only a person who cannot think outside the capitalist box would say, "well, just 'cause" or "that's just the way it is."

The moral of the story is that humans must subordinate their economics to their needs, rather than giving mystical economic forces a life of their own. It is not a real life of course, but a life lived vicariously through mechanical means, like a virus feeding on the matter of live cells. The virus itself is as about as "alive" as a screw driver, and yet has the inner compulsion to replicate itself.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Heavy lids (5.00 / 1) (#376)
by ubu on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:34:18 AM EST

It seems to me that being free to accumulate some micro-property of your own is more like contenting onesself with the table scraps left from the gargantuan feast of your exploiters - a feast of superprofits and virtually uninhibited, arbitrary economic power.

And it seems to me that you're being distracted by the immense wealth created in the West. If the West disappeared tomorrow, would the Third World be richer or poorer? Is the West disenfranchising the Third World, or does the considerable disparity of wealth creation simply motivate a great deal of angst, resentment, envy, and antipathy?

You know by now that I will not apologize for the truly imperialistic adventures of the West. There are numerous examples of clear, overt action on the part of Western governments which can be blamed for a great deal of the poverty in the Third World. However, to blame the action I have in mind on "capitalists" would be ridiculous in the extreme.

Also, the burden is you on to explain why the millions of starving, impoverished, and ill of the so-called Third World apparently aren't entitled to it.

Explain why the Third World isn't entitled to the First World's wealth? Simple: to say that it is would be to undermine every wealth-creating principle that has led to the prosperity of the West. Worse, it would destroy both hemispheres. Whatever economy exists in the Third World would be wiped out, and the Western golden-egg-laying goose would be slain overnight.

For example, you could say, as bc does, that these countries just don't produce any wealth, so that's why they don't make any money and can't get any food or medicine with it.

That's a simplistic way to put it. More to the point, these countries produce less wealth per capita than the West, yes.

Another answer is that they have tyrannical governments that mismanage the economy and don't allow capitalism to develop freely there, but this is a generalisation that really just doesn't hold up.

Another simplification, but equally valid in its way. I wouldn't say that the governments "mismanage the economy", but rather that they stand athwart it. Healthy capitalism is predicated upon healthy Society, since the one is a natural outcome of the other. All Third World countries suffer from diseased, destructive States, but many of them also suffer from Imperial hangovers (for example, the Western creation of the Israeli state, the Western establishment of Yugoslavia, the Western carving-up of the Islamic Middle East). Many of them suffer from internecine strife, and many of them suffer from a sheer scarcity of the kind of resources that lead to a rapid-growth economy.

You can see a microcosm of this even in the ludicrously-wealthy United States. Some states have fabulous wealth-creation potential, and some have far less. As a young, career-minded man I far prefer to live in North Texas than in West Virginia. Does this entitle W. Virginia to the wealth of Texas? I should think not.

Still another answer is that for whatever world-historic reasons, the forward march of modernity has simply passed these hapless people by, and it is the West's job to promote their development in whatever manner they see fit.

Capitalism naturally finds the most productive use for every resource. If there is wealth-creation potential in the Third World (and there most certainly is) an unhampered free market would put it to use in short order. We have already seen many fruitful market efforts in the Third World, although they are almost never publicized to any significant extent. Even the astonishing and miraculous growth of the Chinese market economy gets less press than the dire predictions of Western "security analysts" that China will invade the US or shoot potato guns at us or some such nonsense.

If you think about it, it's really quite irrational, and defies basic human sensibilities - it's like farmers pouring tonnes upon tonnes of milk out onto the street during the Great Depression because of a total price collapse.

Yes, that's quite ridiculous. It's akin to postponing your commute until after "rush hour" and expecting to arrive earlier as a result. It doesn't work that way. Destruction of wealth doesn't improve the economic outlook. Dairy farmers weren't pouring out milk in the expectation that their remaining milk would sell for a sufficiently-high price to justify the short-term loss; that's sheer economic nonsense, as any brief examination will bear out. No, farmers poured out milk in order to put pressure on the political process in favor of the agricultural subsidies and domestic price controls they wanted.

Can't we do better than that? I propose that we can do better than that. What is Capital's reply? "No, no, don't you see? You have to play by my rules! They're the only rules of resource allocation that exist in the universe! I said so!"

No, no, no. Start again. Can we do better than a short-term policy of what you might call "exploitation"? Yes, absolutely, yes. Next question: will we? No, in most cases, we won't. Next question: why not? Because long-term investment in the Third World is a short road to economic ruin. I'll let you do your own investigation into long-term economic calculation of Third World investment, but it boils down to this: the Third World is a proven fuckup. China is the noteworthy exception that proves the rule: it has Rule of Law, it has political stability, it has a disciplined and ethical populace... it has everything investment-minded individuals like to see when they assess long-term risks.

You seem to believe that "capital" is a $100 bill sitting idle in a fat lawyer's wallet. Wrong, "capital" is opportunistic wealth looking for its most productive way into the wealth-creation engine. Even if I — as a high-minded and deeply sympathetic individual with piles of capital burning a hole in my fund manager's pocket — define "productivity" in terms of improved human existences, where is my capital going to get its best return, valeko? In Indonesia, where Suharto's thugs and Sumatran pirates will confiscate 30 cents on the dollar year over year? Or in inner-city Chicago, where my family lives and where bright young African-American potential is being wasted for want of educational resources?

Now ask yourself again why private funds are building community art centers in Dallas and Ft. Worth, but the East Timorese are eating shoe leather.

In a positive but ahistoric observation, you make allusions to the fact that many of the "excesses" of this are anti-capitalist, anti-social, and wicked in nature, but refuse to recognise that statement as a repudiation of the heritage of capitalism, and, in fact, its historical basis.

I don't even know what you think you're talking about. Capitalism's historical basis? You still don't seem to have grasped that capitalism is not a goddamned political movement. Capitalism does not have a Marx and Engels, valeko. Capitalism has a Cain and Abel. It's as old as wealth-creation itself.

However, what is meant by capital is not necessarily money or machinery or land, but any means of production in human society.

Valeko, stay on target. We both know that Marx criticized "capitalists" who controlled the "means of production", but we also know that Marx was a meticulous and well-educated economist who would never have confused "capital" with "means of production" in any but a rhetorical sense. Please, do us both a favor and decide upon a sensible definition of "capital" and then stick to it.

[I've ignored the rest of that paragraph. I like you and want to respect you, valeko, but the whole thing is 100% bullshit.]

What is clear here is that the capitalist is only an agent of the laws of capital's behaviour, that it is a system complete with its own limitations, tendencies, inner compulsions, division of labour, and so on.

No. This isn't true, and in any case it simply doesn't make any sense. The only (only, ONLY) actors in a marketplace of humans are humans. Capital is not an actor. Mises:

Individual man is born into a socially organized environment. In this sense alone we may accept the saying that society is­--logically or historically­--antecedent to the individual. In every other sense this dictum is either empty or nonsensical. The individual lives and acts within society. But society is nothing but the combination of individuals for cooperative effort. It exists nowhere else than in the actions of individual men. It is a delusion to search for it outside the actions of individuals. To speak of a society's autonomous and independent existence, of its life, its soul, and its actions is a metaphor which can easily lead to crass errors.
You make just such an error in building your metaphor of "capital" as though it were a notion laden with graven strictures and carved pathways.

But let us be clear -- capitalism is an expression of human activity in a systematic way that places certain limits and rules on the said human activity according to its own rules.

Again, Mises:

Economics does not assume or postulate that men aim only or first of all at what is called material well-being. Economics, as a branch of the more general theory of human action, deals with all human action, i.e., with man's purposive aiming at the attainment of ends chosen, whatever these ends may be. To apply the concept rational or irrational to the ultimate ends chosen is nonsensical. We may call irrational the ultimate given, viz., those things that our thinking can neither analyze nor reduce to other ultimately given things. Then every ultimate end chosen by any man is irrational. It is neither more nor less rational to aim at riches like Croesus than to aim at poverty like a Buddhist monk.
What one may aim to achieve from the productive use of capital is up to each. Capital does not place arbitrary constraints upon its owner; quite the opposite.

To this end, I disagree with the tone of your premise that "capitalism is, and always will be, everywhere humans exist." This is true at a given state of productive relations, but that doesn't mean it can't be changed. What it does mean is that it can't simply be overthrown; it must be recast. And it is, in fact, a system of social organisation and productive relations. That you can't dictate to me literally, on a secular, day-by-day basis, what I will and won't do, doesn't change that. I am subordinate to the exigencies of the system, and must play within its pen. So are you, for that matter. Whether you accept this as a good thing or see it as an ultimate evil is where our disagreement lies.

It's clear by this point that your fundamental objection is not merely to "capitalism", but to Society itself. In this regard, you are in good company with the disestablishment and anti-hierarchical Left-wing anarchists and libertarians. As far as I can tell, what you positively hate is the notion that any man can lay claim to your liberty in any way that you do not absolutely and comprehensively approve.

You must recognize, from an intellectual standpoint, that it is quite pointless, at this juncture, for you to argue whether Socialism or Capitalism is more appealing; you flatly reject that any de facto "system of social organisation and productive relations" can be acceptable and justifiable on the merit of its having risen voluntarily amongst cooperating Men.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Some Comments (none / 0) (#344)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:06:27 PM EST

"That kind of "freedom" is the domain of privilege. In reality, it's a choice: work or starve."
-------------------------------------------------

It is the same choice you'd be forced to make if you were living alone on a deserted island... "work or starve". Are you trying to make an arguement that living alone on a deserted island you would not be "free"... that someone would be oppressing you?

Don't want to "work for the Man"? Fine, convince people to give you money for something... that's exactly what "the Man" does.

Reject that whole philosophy.... fine go catch fish in the ocean... it doesn't require a license.... there is no fee, it's absolutely free.
Go pick berries on public lands.... it's allowed, again no fee or license required. You can setup a tent and camp on most public lands for free as well. In fact, I know someone who spent all last Summer doing that.

Think that you are "entitled" to more then that? I am afraid that your going to have to convince me why?

I've heard alot of rhetoric about the "evils of capitalism" or the "virtues of communism" but I've yet to hear a clear and coherent arguement about why a man is entitled to something that he didn't earn for himself.

[ Parent ]

Erm. (none / 0) (#347)
by valeko on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:59:02 PM EST

See reply to bc.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Truth about communism. (3.00 / 4) (#312)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 12:52:27 AM EST

Don't bother.

Truth is, communism is simply another variant of the age-old manichean/gnostic heresy. These guys have existed in some form or other in Europe since something like the second century; every once in a while they pop up, institute a "people's republic", commit genocide and crimes against humanity, and after a short while go "underground" again.

In the Middle Ages, for example, these people have been a very powerful force in Western Europe -- in fact, the original Inquisition was founded to combat them.

In short, communism is a religious belief, and a very inhumane and violent one. These dudes will stop short of nothing to force their dogma on the rest of us.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

hang on billy (none / 0) (#62)
by demi on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:53:41 AM EST

To recognize the advantages of holding off on all that easy light crude, trying instead to develop more efficent ways of drawing from tar sand, for the sake of increased political stability? Seems better to get expensive oil from friendly nations where it is plentiful and very available, rather than embark on imperial adventures abroad to secure the cheap & profitable stuff.

You seem to think it is all a matter of the bottom line and some greedy rich people aren't willing to part with their wealth. The truth is that there are a lot of alternative petroleum and hydrocarbon sources available besides the tar sands, in *much* greater quantity. Among them are deepsea methane hydrates and coal.

Consider this. Most of the oil that would be extracted from the tar sands would be used as an energy source. In other words, it would be used to provide the world with electricity or mechanical work. Now consider that the higher price per barrel of tar sand petroleum involves substantial investments in energy (making steam in Canada is not spontaneous and a lot of mechanical work is required). Does it make sense, economically, to sink more energy and material into extracting an energy source when a much more efficient alternative exists?

It seems obvious to most people that a concerted effort to contain global warming and avoid expending limited natural resources is in the long-run best interests of everyone on the planet, including businesses.

It depends on what you think mankind will have to do to contain global warming, and whether or not those efforts will be effective. Recent studies imply that anthropogenic CO2 may not be the most significant cause of the percieved warming trend. Is it worthwhile to throw away our best portable source of energy, if it will not have an appreciable impact on climate change?

...to fund think tanks dedicated to debunking established science...

You must realize that there is a great abundance of established, yet very bad and irresponsible, science on both sides of the climate change debate. Don't be so sure that your side, whatever it may be, is the correct one.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#83)
by nevauene on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:54:18 AM EST

You must realize that there is a great abundance of established, yet very bad and irresponsible, science on both sides of the climate change debate. Don't be so sure that your side, whatever it may be, is the correct one.

I agree that there are idiots on all sides.. I'm hardly suggesting that there aren't people on the 'global warming is a reality' side of things who are more politically motivated than they are scientifically serious.

To be honest I'm not sure I have a 'side' on the issue at all, I'm open to rational persuasion. I've seen alot of compelling evidence to suggest that it is a serious (and preventable) problem, and not a whole lot of credible refutation that isn't easily traced to politically motivated or funded sources. The US seems to be about the only civilized state in the world that isn't willing to accept the science, and what do you know - it's the state with the most to lose. If you have some decent impartial links/cites on the matter then I'd appreciate it; ecology is not quite my field and considering how politically loaded that particular area is I'm glad it is not.

People have been talking about global warming and the potential damage caused by fossil fuel burning for decades now. I admit that I have a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't be at all as unresolved and controversial an issue today if not for the billions of dollars potentially riding on it - that kind of money can buy you many years worth of fradulent science and media noise to obscure the facts if they happen to be inconvenient. However I'd like to believe that I'm more interested in scientifically established fact than I am in politically kosher preach-to-the-choir tracts; show me the proof and I'll reverse myself in a second, as that seems preferable to blind dogmatism.

Does it make sense, economically, to sink more energy and material into extracting an energy source when a much more efficient alternative exists?

That depends, I suppose, on whether that much more efficient alternative actually happens to require a lot more capital expenditure than it appears to at first glance. For instance, the money required to undertake military operations to pacify/stabilize large chunks of the world, change unfriendly regimes, etc. All pretty-sounding rhetoric aside, securing control of natural resources, and establishing power centres all around the world, is what US foreign policy has boiled down to for at least 50 years now, and the only people who call that conspiracy theory these days are the more timid and centrist right-wingers who still don't have the balls to just come out and call Empire Empire. As I've said before, I have alot more respect for a tyranny that comes right out and lays its agenda bare than I do one which engages in cynical doublespeak.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure this is greed. (none / 0) (#117)
by Vellmont on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:52:39 AM EST

Essentially someone with money could either fund research into lowering costs of extracting oil from tar sand, or invest in all the infra-structure to do so in hopes that oil prices might stay above $14 a barrel.  No one knows if either of these are possible, so putting money into either of these is fairly risky.  

So you tell me, why is not putting your money in risky investments greedy?  If anyone should be funding research like this it's the Canadian government. Canada sounds like it has the most to gain from a new method of extracting this oil, so they seem the logical choice to fund research.

[ Parent ]

Corporate welfare? (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:06:38 AM EST

This sounds like a thinly-veiled proposal for corporate welfare.

Yes, let's spare the private sector from the ravages of investing in risky technological development and give it to the government, which can absorb the costs so much better - really! Oh, but, let's give everything else to the private sector, since they can do it more ... efficiently ... than the government.

Very clever!

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I never said give it freely to corps. (none / 0) (#261)
by Vellmont on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:31:31 PM EST

So fine, you charge a licensing fee for the technology to any corporation that wants to use the technology.  Christ, governments fund research all the time that would benefit the country as a whole, but are too speculative for a corp to fund.  A government funds things where the benefit isn't purely monetary, or where the economic benefits extend beyond the profitability of the corp.

[ Parent ]
Regardless.. (none / 0) (#321)
by nevauene on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 04:17:55 AM EST

For a government to give tax breaks, massive research grants, etc to any company on the grounds that it creates jobs, benefits the nation, or whatever else, still amounts to clear-cut corporate welfare. I've always found it fascinating that capital-L Libertarians have a blind spot for this sort of thing, as recently seen in their blind and 100% ideological support for the economically demented and grossly ill-timed Bush tax cut plan. Apparently there are still alot of people stupid enough to believe in 'trickle-down' economics out there. I can only hope that one last round of profound failure will be enough to finally discredit the idea for good, despite how attractive it will always sound to the rich and powerful in theory.
Considering that the same people who will happily dole out such generous relief and handouts to corporations and the uber-rich tend to rabidly denounce giving so much as enough to pay the rent and buy some food to the poorest people in the country, on the grounds that they are slackers, moral lepers, etc, I'd say it's more than mere injustice and hypocrisy - it's an abomination. People go homeless and starve for lack of a couple hundred bucks a month - meanwhile city councils everywhere offer up hundreds of thousands worth of tax cuts to entice Generic Big Company to set up shop in their town rather than the next.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
did I say anything about that? (none / 0) (#326)
by Vellmont on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 06:32:56 AM EST

Umm..  I didn't say the government should give tax breaks, research grants, etc to corporations.  I merely said the government should fund projects that benefit the nation as a whole.  There's lots of ways to do do that, most of which involve funding University research.  

Am I wrong in assuming we're engaging in dialogue, or are you just making speeches?  If we are, try to stick with what I'm actually say rather than taking arguments that someone else is saying somewhere else and inserting that into my mouth.

[ Parent ]

Fairy tale views of the world. (4.42 / 7) (#93)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:58:11 AM EST

Given the willingness to look at it through a sufficiently narrow scope, you're right, there's nothing "greedy" or immoral about being cost-effective.

What is discussed here, however, is more of a "meta" view of economic "rationality," not the economics itself. That more environmentally sustainable energy alternatives are not "cost-effective" says little about their actual merit and usefulness, and everything about their compatibility with the existing economic arrangements and structure of resource allocation. In other words, what is cost-effective in capitalism is not determined by its sheer merit, but rather its value according to the internal imperatives of the system itself. What is cost-effective and profit-maximising (in other words, rational, from the standpoint of self-interest) is not always socially desirable, useful, or sustainable. Capitalist "economics" only accounts for a tiny subset of these things, where they are reflected quantitatively in the bottom line - i.e. externalities. But reality doesn't really work like that.

An even more simple example can be invoked - modern industrial agriculture. Maximum yield, maximum land use, maximum output, maximum profit, maximum homogenisation, maximum bulk, minimum error, minimal problems. Profit-maximising and economically desirable? Sure. Socially or environmentally desirable? Absolutely not - topsoil depletion, erosion, pollution and runoff from the use of all kinds of chemicals, etc.

People like you need to get over this illusion that the market functions to select, through some kind of Darwinism, the most desirable options in a kind of all-around meritocracy. It is a meritocracy, but it is a very narrow, and ironically self-interested one; in other words, for any given business model, it's a question of how useful it is in terms of the already predefined economic goals, not some kind of general desirability. What doesn't serve the imperatives of capitalism to begin with, regardless of its goodness, is discarded because, well, it's not profitable. There is absolutely nothing inherent in capitalism that makes the best stuff profit-maximising. Economic viability and social desirability are in no way synonymous.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Valeko... (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by ti dave on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:32:10 AM EST

So, how much longer are you going to stick to that "I'm only seventeen" story?

It grows less believeable each passing day.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Why's that? (none / 0) (#107)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:48:50 AM EST

Not that I have anything to prove to you. If you want to think I'm 37 instead, that's fine. What difference does it make?

Now that it occurs to my 17 year old mind, how does your comment constitute a reply to mine?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

It's an observation. (3.00 / 2) (#110)
by ti dave on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:54:38 AM EST

If you are 37, which I find unlikely, then I find myself concerned that you might pose as a youth for some nefarious purpose.

But, I'm sure you'll deny that's the case, so carry on then.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Well. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:07:01 AM EST

You put me in quite a quandary then. What if I'm 17 but "confess" to being 37 so that I don't fall right into the pernicious embrace of your expectation that I will deny that I'm posing as a youth.

Oh boy, this can get complicated real fast.

Why don't we just assume for the sake of simplicity that I'm 17, or, even better, ignore my age altogether and focus on what I'm saying? Age-ism (for lack of a better word) is a terrible thing.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Funny, (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by Akshay on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:01:57 AM EST

Happened to me too. Most online-only friends think I'm forty or something; apparently I'm too wordy and cynical to be a 21-year-old CS major.

And this was for the last five years or so, ever since I went online.

[ Parent ]

There's a world of difference... (none / 0) (#234)
by ti dave on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:14:03 PM EST

between your typical 17 year-old and a 21 year-old.

Of course, my crusty old memory could be malfunctioning.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Missed the part, (5.00 / 1) (#329)
by Akshay on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 08:40:57 AM EST

about the "happening for the last five years or so", didn't you? :-)

[ Parent ]

It's obvious he is seventeen (1.00 / 2) (#228)
by coryking on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:00:19 PM EST

He's got the uneducated, "everybody who disagrees with me is a sheeple!!" rebelious bit still in him. Ahhh yes, thirty years from now he will make the perfect middle manager for some large, faceless corporation. I can see it now.

[ Parent ]
Eh (3.00 / 4) (#172)
by bc on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:48:48 AM EST

I think you need to show that oil is "environmentally unsustainable" before going off on your wild tangent.

Oh wait - I forgot. Oil is used by capitalism, which is a nice evil-sounding codeword for the not-at-all evil enough sounding concept "people acting freely according to their own interests and those of their community". Why, it must be "environmentally unsustainable"!

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Farming. (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by sonovel on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:34:20 AM EST

I lived in New York State for a long time. I used to go into the mountains and forests for camping.

Funny thing about many of the forests. They used to be farms. Less efficient farming tends to require a lot of land, meaning a lot of clearcutting.

You might want to do some research on the environmental costs of substinence farming. It isn't a big win when one considers all the forest that was cut down for it.

And there are other issues as well. Can the world feed 8 billion people without industrial farming?

Do you consider massive starvation a good thing?

Many enviromentalists seem to, at least if one takes their words seriously.

[ Parent ]

Making the wrong arguement (5.00 / 1) (#180)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:42:16 AM EST

Your arguement here isn't about "cost effectiveness", it's about short term vs. long term thinking.

Short term thinking is NOT a uniquely capitalistic trait... it can (and does) exist in any economic model/system that has ever existed.

It's a basic trait/flaw in the human psyche, the desire for instant gratification without regard the consequences of such.

"Darwinism" does select against organisims which don't consider the long term viability of themselves and thier progeny. They will be less "successfull".

The same IS true (to a lesser extent) for corporations in a capitalist system.

Now, in terms of the specific issue being brought forth in this article I'm not sure I understand your problem. Perhaps you just don't like the term "cost effective".... perhaps you would prefer "energy efficient".... it doesn't really matter because they largely represent the same thing. It costs far more money (which translates to energy and material) to extract oil from tar sands then it does from liquid oil.... therefore companies give preference to the latter method.

All other things being equal, I don't see what's wrong with that? Perhaps if there were some overriding negative side effect for liquid oil extraction that was not replicated in tar sands extraction there might be a point... but I fail to see what that side effect might be....

Environmental Concerns? .... The method for extracting tar sands is strip mining...are you trying to make the arguement that is more environmentaly responsible then drilling?

Political Stability? .... Have you considered the ramifications of removing (what is for many oil producing nations) their sole viable exportable resource? Would that be likely to produce greater political stability?

Whats wrong with doing exactly what is being done?
Namely relying on liquid oil while reserves are still plentifull and engaging in tar sands extraction on a small scale while searching for a way to make such a process more efficient. Whats wrong with that?

[ Parent ]

Long Term.. (none / 0) (#225)
by coryking on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:57:58 PM EST

Have you even worked on a farm, Valeko? Or are you just reciting crap you read in your communist books again and then sprinkle it liberally with fancy sounding words?

Of course agriculture companies worry about soil deteriration. They need to make money in the future, dont they? It's in their best interestest to worry what will become of the land they are growing crops on. If they dont, they will loose big time when a competitor who actually cared cleans their plate 30 years from now.

On the same note, when logging companies have to own their land, they start to get real concerned about the health of their forests 30 years down the line, or they will be fucked when they run out of wood. That issue right there is a very good reason why logging companies should own large tracts of forest - so they have an economic reason to manage it better.

Companies have to think both long & short term to survive - to think otherwise is very naive.

Economic viability and social desirability are in no way synonymous.
Got a better way valeko?

[ Parent ]
What's -your- point? (none / 0) (#304)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:36:59 PM EST

Of course agriculture companies worry about soil deteriration. They need to make money in the future, dont they? It's in their best interestest to worry what will become of the land they are growing crops on. If they dont, they will loose big time when a competitor who actually cared cleans their plate 30 years from now.

That's exactly right, and that kind of anarchaic interaction between units of capital is precisely why they call "free"-market capitalism "the law of the jungle." Why should we have to be subordinated to such irrational dynamics? These tendencies you describe are internal to capital itself, having little relationship to what would benefit society as a whole. Why should we have to be slaves to it nevertheless?

You've recited a framework, said it's nice, and then explained why in terms of the framework itself. Silly. Incidentally, this really isn't mentioned in any so-called "communist books" because it's too banally obvious to most people.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Content found within, (none / 0) (#306)
by coryking on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:53:04 PM EST

You can knock on capitalism all you want, but you got a better idea? The beauty of pure capitalism is that it allows the system to regulate itself. That "anarchaic interaction" is the fundimental, most astonishingly beautiful feature of a truely free market. I challenge you to come up with a more efficent system.

You still crack me up. You are exactly like I was when I was 17, though you are probably more literate. The hours I would spend, the pots of coffee I'd drink and the packs of cigarretes I would smoke in some skeezy 24-hour restaruant talking of the same "slave to the system" bullshit you are. Why dont bury the roads underground? Why am I forced to live in this "system"? And the ever present "everybody who doesn't clearly see things my way is a sheeple" always in the background.

But you know what, I took an econ class in college (then an accounting class, and this quarter macroecon). Capitalism and the corporation are both probably two of the coolest, and most important constructs our society has built.

What you describe is just part of being a teenager - I'd probably say you are lucky to have such a strong passion. Hopefully someday when your rebellion resides, you will see capitalism for the true beauty that it is. And then you, more then many people, can truely appreciate how well it really works.

PS: These tendencies you describe are internal to capital itself, having little relationship to what would benefit society as a whole.. It does benefit society as a whole - it gives them cheap gas, cheap cloths, and food that is very, very, very cheap compared to the past.

[ Parent ]

You misunderstand, cory. (5.00 / 1) (#315)
by valeko on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 01:39:46 AM EST

You still crack me up. You are exactly like I was when I was 17, though you are probably more literate. The hours I would spend, the pots of coffee I'd drink and the packs of cigarretes I would smoke in some skeezy 24-hour restaruant talking of the same "slave to the system" bullshit you are. Why dont bury the roads underground? Why am I forced to live in this "system"? And the ever present "everybody who doesn't clearly see things my way is a sheeple" always in the background.

No. What you're describing there is the typical ethos of the "rebellious teen" that rants and raves against "the system" and "the Man" without having a coherent notion of what he's attacking. Usually this is the outlook put forth by children from American strata of privilege - an inescapable teenage urge to "rebel" against "the system" and "stick it to 'em." One important characteristic of this misdirection is that it is predicated on an insular (mostly suburban) existence, and one of course devoid of the genuinely human qualities that make up real political enthusiasm. And yes, most of these types do go on to be investment bankers, managers, or salesmen of some sort, and their rebellion "recedes."

You're welcome to believe that I belong to this group, of course, but that doesn't make it so. I have nothing to prove to you in this regard, but perhaps it is worth mentioning for your edification that I have somewhat of an outside perspective on all this -- I'm not the archetypical "rebellious teen" you make me out to be. As such, I think the trajectory of the development of my political consciousness is immeasurably different from yours, and that of any other "I became conservative and realised how good everything is as I grew up and got a real job" clowns.

In short, the extent of my objections is far beyond "the system sucks" or "I hate the world." Sorry if you find that disappointing or unpleasant to hear since it doesn't fit your preconceived notions. (My desire for socialism (and ultimately, communism) was arrived at mostly through rich human, personal experiences, not academic impulses.)

But you know what, I took an econ class in college (then an accounting class, and this quarter macroecon). Capitalism and the corporation are both probably two of the coolest, and most important constructs our society has built.

I've taken AP Microeconomics and am currently finishing up AP Macro. I do not walk away from either with the impression that "capitalism and the corporation are both probably two of the coolest, and most important constructs our society has built." But perhaps, according to you, I'm just too young to receive the proper enlightenment from the material, or maybe I have one of the sundry so-called "learning disorders." Perhaps I should take some kind of pills for my unnatural, clinical jadedness and cynicism, because these disorders are preventing me from internalising what I'm taught properly. I just can't seem to get the message that the bourgeoisie aren't really any different from the rest of us and in fact are big, friendly giants. What do you think? There's an entire politicised branch of psychiatry that deals with this. Haven't you ever heard of Samuel Cartwright, the Southern doctor that discovered drapetomania?

Either way, learning disorders not withstanding, I don't see why taking economics courses would make you or me more or less qualified to discuss this. But perhaps that's my greatest fallacy of all - an outgrowth of my youthful arrogance; I just haven't taken enough classes. Maybe when I finish university and just get enough credit hours I'll be less "jaded" and more "in touch" with the "real world." Yeah, I know you think so too.

Your line that global capitalism is quite literally the best humanity can come up with is absolutely laughable. But then again, it's not entirely beyond understanding; after all, it's one of the most important platitudes extolled in civics for peasants. Sure, it may suck, and it may command a system to which most of the rest of the world is quite literally enslaved, but can you really come up with anything better that works? You should look at your face in the mirror as you mouth that rediculous postulate. I can imagine the gleam, the longing in your eyes for the days down at the ol' plantation, with five hundred field Negroes picking that King Cotton for you. That was conventional wisdom back in the day too: yeah, so, maybe enslaving Negroes has its downsides, but come on, got a better idea? How am I going to pick this cotton otherwise?

The anarchaic interaction between units of capital that I'm referring to is not your precious "competition," but the irrationality of the aggregate dynamics of capital as a current that controls productive forces. The lopsided development, waste, and arbitrary discontinuities it creates (with devastating consequences for real people - U.S. investors can wipe out entire national economies without even noticing and have the gall to call it mere "capital flight") is not part of your "economics" curriculum. Fighting subordination to global capitalism is not an abstract or misguided notion that emanates from illogical instincts of whiny teenage rebellion; for those who lay outside the broad strata of privilege in imperialist countries, it takes on a very literal, concrete dimension.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I think (5.00 / 2) (#335)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 11:05:16 AM EST

What Cory was getting at is that most people at 17 are absolutely certain that they have the entire universe figured out and anyone that disagrees with them must be a moron or a stooge.

When they get a little older most people come to the sudden realization that the only thing they know for certain is that they know almost nothing for certain. They tend to stop using words like "is" and start using ones like "believe", "think", "impression" and "experience".

Perhaps I have the wrong impression of you, but your posts crack me up because they very much DO resemble the posts of a typical 17 year old.... so impressed with his own brilliance and certain of his views that he does not stop to think for a moment that he might just have it all ass backwards.

Now prehaps there are some valid points in your rhetoric, I certainly don't pretend to have it all figured out. However most of your rhetoric sounds like it comes straight from the stuff Despots of the "communist" variety spoon feed thier populace in an attempt to justify thier hold on power.... or conversely the stuff that Bandits (i.e. "Rebels") of the "socialist" variety use to justify simple theft.

Perhaps you do have alot of rich personal experiences... but 17 years is an awfully short time to have spent on planet earth to have formed such unshakeable beliefs.

Perhaps you might want to stop and consider for a moment that other people have had "rich human, personal experiences" and those experiences can even cause them to form opinions contradictory to your own.

[ Parent ]

personal experiences (5.00 / 2) (#338)
by infinitera on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 01:28:24 PM EST

The most informed and eloquent communists & anarchists I've met have been invariably people with 'rich personal experiences', in their middle or old age, working for a living their entire lives. Nobody's brainwashed them; this is something they believe in their gut. That being said, valeko often leaves himself open to misinterpretation, but the fact of the matter is, it's because of your frame of reference in this so-called capitalist society that you jump to conclusions about his socialist beliefs.

[ Parent ]
Absolutely agreed (5.00 / 3) (#342)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 03:47:52 PM EST

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to state that pretty much everyone is a product of thier frame of reference to some degree. I certainly am no exception to that....and I suspect that Valeko and even yourself are not immune either.

Definately having been raised in the U.S. and in a capitalist society would lead me to draw certain conclusions about other societies.... the reverse is true as well. I often find visitors to the U.S. have certain assumptions about what life is like here that vary wildly from what my experiences are or the people I know.

It's true that my views of "communism" tend to be colored the fact that alot of my family lived through the Soviet occuptaion of Poland during Stalins reign.

I'm not trying to jump to absolute conclusions about Valeko's (or anyone elses) views just giving my impressions of them. If one can't at least start to form some preliminary conclusions based upon one's own experiences then one's going to have a pretty dysfunctional life. The important thing, I believe, is to recognize the possibilty that one's conclusions might not neccesarly be accurate.

[ Parent ]

We're going to have a straw shortage soon. (5.00 / 2) (#348)
by valeko on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 06:22:05 PM EST

What Cory was getting at is that most people at 17 are absolutely certain that they have the entire universe figured out and anyone that disagrees with them must be a moron or a stooge.

Yes - but, when did I ever claim to do any of this? What aspect of Cory's statement is correct? Did I ever claim to have arrived at any universal truth or to understand the All-Encompassing Total Nature of Humanity or whatnot? Claiming to have done so seems like a terribly imperious thing to do, whether you're 17 or 87; in fact, I don't know any rational human being that would ever claim to "have it all figured out" except religious demagogues. I don't claim to be anything other than what I am; I'm only a 17 year old teenager, and I know only what I know. I certainly don't claim to transcend the limitations or prejudices of my environment, nor to be able to see them fully from a peripheral vantage point. Do you disagree? Please provide textual examples. If you think that my tone implies a God-like self-concept, well ... there must be some misunderstanding.

so impressed with his own brilliance and certain of his views that he does not stop to think for a moment that he might just have it all ass backwards.

I don't know where you'd get that idea about me unless you're placing me in a very elaborately pre-conceived mold. It frequently occurs to me that I "have it all ass backwards," but on the other hand, having it all ass backwards implies that you have some kind of over-arching, all-encompassing metaphysics (i.e. "having it all") and they're just wrong. As I indicated above, I don't claim to have those.

Perhaps you do have alot of rich personal experiences... but 17 years is an awfully short time to have spent on planet earth to have formed such unshakeable beliefs.

I know. I wasn't trying to say that my depth of personal experiences is greater than yours or anyone else's, or that it is so profound as to have endowed me with unshakeable beliefs and a rock-solid all-around comprehension of things. I was trying to say that my political sentiments aren't purely academic. In other words, it is not as though I picked up a book one day, read about socialism, and decided that it sounded cool. That's probably what you think, and certainly what Cory thinks, about how I arrived at my belief in socialism, but that's not true. It is irrational and overbearing to say that this worldview is incontrovertible. It is certainly possible that I will grow up, see the "real world," and convert to Cory's religion. But somehow I doubt it. However, the only pronouncement I can make about it that is of any certainty is that it remains to be seen -- in other words, an affirmation of the wisdom that you claim comes with age, that the only thing you know for certain is that you don't know anything for certain.

Regarding "is" vs. "experience" and "impression", I use them all extensively. My use of the passive voice isn't meant to indicate the universal applicability and incontrovertible truth of my principles. However, I assume that to most people who aren't obsessed with making characteristic judgements about me, it is implied that the sum of my knowledge comes from the sum of my experiences and my life, for I am not supernatural.

At the same time, I don't think that I should refrain from acting on my existing beliefs because I am simply too young. That's nonsense. What's the "proper" age when I have the necessary maturity and depth of experience to work toward achieving what I believe is right? Twenty-seven? Fifty-seven? Post-humously? I think one of the greatest philosophical impediments to human progress is that old metaphysical error: "I will know more tomorrow than I know today so let me wait until tomorrow before taking action." If everyone thought like that, we'd still be running around in animal skins, hiding in caves, and waging tribal wars with stones and spears.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Got it (5.00 / 2) (#362)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 11:15:16 AM EST

Ok, then I think perhaps I'm reading something into the tone of your posts that wasn't intended to be there. I apologize for that.

It can be very easy to misinterpret tone on this medium. You don't have access to the same kind of queues as you do with spoken conversations.

Perhaps that's one of the reasons that web boards seem to foster polarized and viruptive arguements.

[ Parent ]

Greed (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 11:57:32 PM EST

Actually, greed would cause you to wait until oil supplies elsewhere were used up, driving the price up to the point where you can exploit it with high profit margins.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#54)
by coryking on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:32:35 AM EST

Which is why OPEC exists. A monopoly created by various goverments to "Greedily" control the supply of mid-east oil.

[ Parent ]
This is of course true (none / 0) (#139)
by theantix on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:00:45 AM EST

However, keep in mind that government agencies and corporations in Alberta are eager to make a profit off the tar sands, and are eagerly anticipating the day that mining the tar sands becomes economically viable.  I've heard that the mining that is done today is barely profitable and often done at a loss, just to be in position when the cost of OPEC crude rises enough to make it workwhile.

--
"you're essentially living the life of an upper-class homeless person" -- some asshole
[ Parent ]
Wrong. (none / 0) (#303)
by EngnrGuy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:17:41 PM EST

You may have heard that 20 years ago, Syncrude was a barely profitable government supported project. But any of the recent developments are being done on pretty good economics, that is the purported $11/bbl cost is real.

Oilsands projects are getting competative rates of return for global oil companies, who tend not to spend billions of dollars just to be in a good position.

[ Parent ]

Ah, I see (none / 0) (#340)
by theantix on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 02:04:35 PM EST

You are correct, I was basing my comment on old information -- we did a case study when I was in Business school -- that was back in 1999 and the selling price of oil was much cheaper back then and I bet the economics have changed as you suggested.  Thanks for the correction/update.  =)

--
"you're essentially living the life of an upper-class homeless person" -- some asshole
[ Parent ]
So what? (4.66 / 6) (#48)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:09:00 AM EST

If we're going to spend a bunch of money on bitumen R&D why not do R&D on renewable, environmentally friendly sources of energy?

I voted 0 on this article.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

Money (4.50 / 2) (#63)
by Subtillus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:53:44 AM EST

The people who already have money want to keep as much of their infrastructure as possible. New tech could possibly lead to a shift in power dynamics.

Change = Ungood.

[ Parent ]

as well short future vs long future (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by metalgeek on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:48:38 AM EST

Some of it has to do with the length of time as well
By doing some R&D and expansion now, they can get this oil. by putting R&D into other forms of energy, it will most likly pay off later, which is why the R&D is split. IF a company puts all it's R&D into long future production, there gonna go out of business because they will not be able to lower costs or keep up inb the short run.
As hard as it is for some to belive, some of the oil company's are reasearching into alternative fuels, Hell, even here in alberta, we now have the largest wind farm in Canada.


"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
because (none / 0) (#183)
by Shren on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:48:49 AM EST

Because, by and large, they all suck so far. Solar cell manufacture involves some incredibly nasty chemicals. Tidal requires the right geography - so does geothermal. Wind works in most places but requires a lot of acreage. So on and so forth...

[ Parent ]

or even better (none / 0) (#218)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:38:34 PM EST

How about spending money on making our existing demands for energy less demanding? Sometimes oil is the best kind of energy, fine. But we can make the power plants, homes, and factories more energy efficient and move away from CO2-producing energy sources.

[ Parent ]
Politics trumped by Corporatism (4.50 / 4) (#59)
by j1mmy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:41:48 AM EST

This means that Canadian oil is very significant to the US energy security and will remain so for the forseeable future, regardless of how much George Bush and Jean Chretien may despise one another.

The beautiful thing here is that whether or not they like eachother is massively irrelevant. As long as Canadian oil producers do business with American oil consumers, the flow will continue.

not quite oil (3.50 / 6) (#61)
by daishan on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:48:25 AM EST

Venezuela has larger reserves locked up with more tar and less sand. Currently the Alberta tarsands require the burning of about three barrels of oil per barrel extracted... It is not cheap to produce nor is it exactly environmentally friendly. It does, however, put an upper cap on what OPEC can charge.

I was at a place called "Tar Island" just outside of Fort McMurray a few weeks ago. I'd rant about the local environmental issues, but there really wasn't much for environment up here in the first place. People around here used to fill up their model T's with oil siphoned from the ditch.

Something doesn't add up... (none / 0) (#64)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:57:12 AM EST

It can't be taking three barrels of oil to extract one because nobody would be extracting from tar sands. Yet there is some serious activity going on and plans on ramping up exploitation of the tar sands.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
it does cost (none / 0) (#68)
by daishan on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:03:22 AM EST

It takes energy to produce oil. Other methods such as normal driling/pumping/refining cost energy too; usually it's less than a barrel burned for barrel produced.

[ Parent ]
It always has to (4.50 / 2) (#72)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:15:09 AM EST

It always has to be less than a barrel consumed for every barrel produced. Otherwise you're losing money. I believe that tar sands 'cost' around ten gallons of oil to every full barrrel recovered. It's high but still highly profitable in terms of net energy gain.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps (none / 0) (#95)
by Temet Nosce on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:11:34 AM EST

I think perhaps they might have meant the equivalent of three barrels of oil in natural gas is consumed. In the hot water extraction process, natural gas is used to heat the water, and that's where the major energy requirements are needed.

[ Parent ]
Nope (none / 0) (#141)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:14:59 AM EST

The price of gas follows the price of oil very closely per single BTU encapsulated. It would never make economic sense to extract oil from tar sands if what you're suggesting were the case. It would be cheaper and more profitable to just keep selling gas.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
It all depends ... (none / 0) (#185)
by awethu on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:08:11 PM EST

Natural gas and crude prices are correlated only in markets with a significant gas distribution infrastructure. This is due to the high transport costs of gas compared to crude arising from the much lower energy density of the former.

Almost all gas is flared in Africa (no infrastructure) and most in the Persian Gulf (supply outstrips demand).

It is therefore conceivable that one can use the energy equivalent of 3 barrels of crude to produce 1 barrel as the gas would otherwise have no economic value.

Whether this is the case in the Canadian tar fields I would not know. This page illustrates known stranded gas fields.

[ Parent ]
where is it (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by slothman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:23:51 AM EST

Where exactly is "tar island"? Can I actually buy oil/sand there? That would be interesting to have. I can add it to my bauxite(aluminum ore) collection. Also, as your another reply said, if it takes 3 barrels to extract 1 then the price per barrel is irrelavent. The price cap forced on OPEC would be on money only. It would never be useful, appearently, to extract it at that rate of energy loss. Unless, of course, they find more ways that use less energy. Obviously right now it costs less than 1 barrel of oil worth of energy to extract liquid oil so you didn't really anwer his question. Let's say, for ease, it takes 0.5 barrels for liquid and 3 barrels for sand pumping. Why would anyone be interesting in a non-useful way?

[ Parent ]
Just go to Fort Mcmurray (none / 0) (#174)
by scatbubba on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:19:10 AM EST

and find any flowing water. There is a small river (called Hanging Stone) that runs through town. On one bank, you'll find maybe 100 or more feet of tarsand. You could fill your car :).

[ Parent ]
Making The Difference! (1.20 / 10) (#69)
by thelizman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:11:13 AM EST

Your vote (1) was recorded.
This story currently has a total score of 95.


You're the straw that broke the camel's back!
Your vote put this story over the threshold, and it should now appear on the front page. Enjoy


...sweet...
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Now if we can just get rusty... (1.00 / 1) (#94)
by jjayson on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:03:48 AM EST

to put in a message for being the deciding vote to sink a story.
_______
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
There is (none / 0) (#194)
by ShadowNode on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:29:02 PM EST

I've gotten it in the past.

[ Parent ]
Heavily crude... (2.66 / 9) (#70)
by opendna on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:12:22 AM EST

I don't know about you folks, but I like it when Canadian girls are heavily crude. Yeah baby, talk dirty fuel to me you. You want my internal cumbustion, don't you? Oil let you have it, all right!

Alberta: At least it ain't Texas.



Get lost (-) (none / 0) (#136)
by tkatchev on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:16:53 AM EST


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Ah yes (4.87 / 16) (#82)
by tarsand on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:49:53 AM EST

As one might guess from my username, I happen to be a former resident of Fort McMurray and a former employee of one of the companies that extracts oil from the deposits.

The process of taking raw tarsands to crude oil is obviously a bit more complicated than portreyed here. The first step is mining of the sands. This is done primarily through traditional strip-mining techniques. First the organic layer and muskeg is removed, and then the shovels and haulers move in. They use 100-tonne shovels and 300-tonne haulers these days. It's quite the sight, the massive 390s being filled in three scoops. From there, it's taken by the haulers and dumped into the processing and transport system.

MSBob mentions the use of steam injection to bring bitumen to the surface. This is known as in-situ extraction, and is not used on a large scale yet. Projects such as Suncor's Firebag extract on a larger scale using this method.

They use a variety of methods to break up large chunks and remove debris from the mined sand, generally through use of rotating drums. In the old days, the sand was transported on large conveyor belt systems, though this is now being replaced by hydrotransport, that is, the mixing of the sand with water and having it moved about through pipes. Obviously a lot easier than an old conveyor that requires constant maintenance.

From there, it moves on to the extraction phase, which has the task of removing the bitumen from the sand. This is accomplished through a hot water system where the material is pretty much whipped up into a froth, with the sand falling away. A large series of steam and settling systems does this.

From extraction it goes through upgrading, where the bitumen is processed to produce a myriad of products, though primarily synthetic crude. The first major step is coking. This seperates the lighter elements from the heavier carbons, the coke. This coke is used as a fuel to generate electricity and steam for the plants (utilities). From there, it goes through a series of processes, but the thermal cracking is the big one. This seperates the product into naphtha, butane, kerosene, diesel, etc. The final product of upgrading is synthetic crude, whether sour or another blend.

Unfortunately I never learned the exact chemical processes behind this, it merits an article all its own, but this gives a little more depth into the process. The oil sands deserves a better article than this, but this is a good introduction.


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler

i never understood why canada existed (1.51 / 52) (#91)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:44:06 AM EST

i mean same culture, right?

they still got the goddamn queen on their money, they're just stuck in a tory timewarp... the colonists who didn't join the revolution.

and apparently if the newfies had made headway with their anti-quebec voting, then canada really would have broken up in the nineties and there was whispers the conservative western provinces might have even JOINED the us on their own!

i mnean what the hell is canadian culture? they watch hockey and drink molsen and say "eh" a lot? i mean southern us culture has more nuances.

so why don't we just buy the damn country? what is it? like the population of texas? it's a joke of a country. the unabsorbed northern english colonists. they didn't have phones in the 1700s, they never got the news about who won the revolution.

spin off quebec, who wants the damn french, spin off nunavut, the inuit nation deserves their own country, and just give send the western provinces some new letterhead. the maritimes might be a problem, they're pretty independent minded. leave the newfies alone. otherwise, done deal.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

heh (2.80 / 10) (#103)
by Nucleus on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:32:58 AM EST

Another American displaying his ignorance and stupidity.. what a shock!

Socialism for needs, capitalism for wants
[ Parent ]

Don't even bother being trolled. (3.00 / 2) (#108)
by valeko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:51:02 AM EST

Just rate down and move along.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Queenie (3.66 / 3) (#119)
by Krazor on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:10:23 AM EST

Perhaps they have the Queen on their money because they believe in democracy. At the time of the US revolution only 1/3 of the population supported the idea od independence. About 1/3 were against it, and the other 1/3 didn't care.
So what occured in the formation of the US? A minority group enforced their will upon the majority through forced of will. Had it been more democratic the 13 colonies would have remined a part of the Empire and the US today would probably have the Queen on its money. I'm going to stop here because I'm heading into crazy 'alternative history' territory...

[ Parent ]
Democra-what? (3.66 / 3) (#123)
by cpatrick on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:58:11 AM EST

Perhaps they have the Queen on their money because they believe in democracy

Er, if there's a queen involved, that would make it a monarchy. A constitutional monarchy in which the rôle of royalty has been reduced to a formality, but a monarchy nonetheless.

(Disclaimer - I'm not Canadian, but I'm pretty sure it's much the same system as we have here in Australia.)

[ Parent ]

Queenie 2 (5.00 / 2) (#127)
by Krazor on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:18:00 AM EST

I meant that they were more democratic in their origins. If a majority of the people want a 70 year old women as their head of state who are we to say they are wrong?

In the same way as if a majority of Americans want Bush Jnr as President who is the rest of the world to tell them they are wrong?

[ Parent ]
majority? (none / 0) (#283)
by klamath on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:14:39 PM EST

If a majority of the people want a 70 year old women as their head of state who are we to say they are wrong?
And which majority would that be, exactly? The Queen, as with any monarch, is not elected -- that's the very essence of a monarchy.

[ Parent ]
Queenie 3 (none / 0) (#323)
by Krazor on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:32:08 AM EST

The Queen only holds her posistion because the people want her there. If at any time public opinion were to change so that people did not want her as head of state, she would be got rid of.

You seem to imagine her as some tyrant who has the power to make sure that her will is enforced. This is untrue, she is little more than a figure head and has no real power. If people chose to get rid of her, then they could. This almost happened in Australia in the 1990's but the public chose not to. If the publics will was strong anough then I'm sure you would see similar referendums on the matter in Canada as well.

So while the Queen may not be elected, she still needs a majority of the public to support her to keep her posistion.

[ Parent ]
still no democratic figure (none / 0) (#369)
by klamath on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 12:25:07 AM EST

The Queen only holds her posistion because the people want her there.
Yes, in our present society, the power of the monarch has been superceded by the power of the people's elected representatives. So what?
You seem to imagine her as some tyrant who has the power to make sure that her will is enforced.
No, don't put words in my mouth. Obviously, the British monarchy has no real power -- only an idiot would actually think that. The question is what the monarchy symbolizes.
If people chose to get rid of her, then they could.
Well, sure, just like any other facet of a democratic society can be changed. But that doesn't change the fact that the monarchy is not a democratic institution and it doesn't stand for democratic goals -- in fact, much the opposite.

[ Parent ]
You get a one. (3.00 / 1) (#390)
by cdyer on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 01:59:20 PM EST

For putting that damn circumflex on the o in role.  Pretentious ass.

Cheers,
Cliff

[ Parent ]

Perhaps Not (3.00 / 1) (#184)
by Rand Race on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:06:14 PM EST

20% is the generally accepted estimate of the American loyalist population in the colonies at the time of the Revolution (4% later left for Canada). Hardly a plurality, much less a majority. And the votes weren't cast in ballots, they picked up guns and voted with their feet (less than 1% of the population in the colonies took up arms in support of the British) and the loyalists lost, even with the might of the British Empire behind them.

It wasn't force of will that insured the independence of the US, it was force of arms.

And let me tell you about that loyalist love of democracy; in 1778 - after France joined the colonial side - Britain offered to repeal many of the taxes and levies against the colonies in exchange for peace. It may well have succeeded had a cabal of loyalists not gotten caught attempting to bribe several representatives to the continental congress to vote for the peace settlement.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

hey [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#124)
by spare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:05:01 AM EST

>... and drink molsen and ...
its molson.

-spare

----------------
don't fill the front lines of their war; those assholes aren't worth dying for
--ani difranco
[ Parent ]
Why do Queenslanders drink XXXX? (none / 0) (#196)
by cam on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:34:01 PM EST

Why do Queenslanders drink XXXX?

Because they cant spell beer.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

nt means no text (none / 0) (#391)
by cdyer on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:02:10 PM EST

"It's molson" is text.

Cheers,
Cliff

[ Parent ]

How could you? (3.00 / 2) (#133)
by anothertom on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:08:10 AM EST

Sarcasm is not tolerated here. Any comment may be misunderstood by everyone, and all sarcasts will be called trolls.

[ Parent ]
little things. (2.25 / 4) (#182)
by gauntlet on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:48:32 AM EST

same culture? considering what Americans consider "culture", sure.

queen on our money? yeah, well at least our head of state can pronounce nuclear.

if the people in quebec that wanted independence and the people outside quebec that didn't want quebec had won, there would have been the atlantic provinces, quebec, and the rest of the country.

God only knows what the atlantic provinces would have done. But if you're trying to avoid the French, you would have had trouble dealing with New Brunswick. So they're out. If you let the newfies go, too, then you'r left with Prince Edward Island, which isn't even the size of manhatten, if I'm not mistaken, and Nova Scotia. Yay. Skip it, I'd say.

With the west still contiguously attached to ontario, and with the departure of quebec changing the balance of power in the parliament, the west would have stuck around.

And as far as I know, there's only one conservative western province. Alberta. The other ones are practically communist.

The entire country has about the population of California. I don't know what the population of Texas is, but Canada - Quebec could = Texas.

And dear god, don't bother buying us. That presumes we have a right not to sell. Invade. Take over militarily, if at all. Oh, and Nunavut won't survive on its own. It's too integrated with north american culture, now.

One problem though: re-writing all the textbooks to make Alaska a "contiguous" state. Pain in the ass.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Uhh.. (none / 0) (#201)
by Kwil on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:59:01 PM EST

well at least our head of state can pronounce nuclear.

You sure about that?

I mean.. this is Jean we're talking about.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
The Queen is Head of State (none / 0) (#212)
by Jack McCoy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:18:32 PM EST

not the Prime Minister.
-- Jack
[ Parent ]
Even worse.. (none / 0) (#216)
by Kwil on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:29:24 PM EST

..she's brit, y'know.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
To quote a favorite song of mine.... (1.00 / 1) (#207)
by bhearsum on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:21:09 PM EST

'The white house burned burned burned and we're the ones that did it, it burned burned burned while the president ran and cried..." yay.

[ Parent ]
populations (2.16 / 6) (#208)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:35:01 PM EST

texas: 22 million

california: 35 million

http://geohive.com/cd/link.php?xml=us&xsl=xs1

canada: 32 million

http://geohive.com/global/pop_data2.php

so i was wrong, closer to california, but not quite.

but still, what a joke of a country.

canada is just unabsorbed leftover from the birth of the us.

how can a canadian be proud of being canadian? i mean we even take your great gretsky. we stole all of your comedians. besides sports and comedy, i can't even think of anyone famous who is canadian.

everyone who is someone in canada goes to the us.

would a canadian please tell me what the hell being canadian means? there seems to be no meaning to being canadian. no cultural separation. nothing. i mean you guys even have to pass laws banning us tv so your own people won't spend all their time watching it instead of the inferior canadian product.

seriously, what a joke of a country. i don't understand how a canadian can be proud of being canadian. there is no identity unique to being canadian. a joke of a country.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Ok, I'll bite. (3.00 / 1) (#240)
by someotherguy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:03:32 PM EST

You know, 4 years ago I would have happily moved to the US. Tech jobs were plentiful, economy was booming. Now, the thought of moving to the states makes me sick and I don't think it has anything to do with the economy.

In fact, any Canadian I know that has moved to the US has done so simply for money. I suspect the same applies to the former Canadian stars that reside in the US.

I cherish my Canadian identity because of things I don't have.


- I don't have to live in a city filled with racial tension. Yes, we have racism but there isn't an "us vs. them" mentality. Note that I haven't been to Toronto so I can't speak for them.
- I don't have to worry about some nut with a fine collection of handguns that may accidentally (or purposely) shoot me.
- I don't have to worry about my fellow citizens tell me that I'm being unpatriotic due to my lack of support for whatever actions my government is taking. Any TV or print media from the US that I see seems to portray a mob-mentality concerning the Iraq war. It seems there is an attitude that if you don't agree with the war then you love Saddam. In Canada, we can disagree and still get along.

Things I have:


- Access to affordable post-secondary education.
- Public health care. Our health care system isn't perfect but I am guaranteed treatment without dealing with the hassles of getting some insurance company whose primary objective is to make money.
- Quality of life. I think that Canadians are more focused on quality of life and this is reflected in what we have access to. In the cities I've lived in there is plenty of parks and greenspace, cycling paths, close and easy access to hiking/camping areas, etc.

I'm glad to be one in only 32 million. You seem to boast that the US is better because your population is larger. I see it as a smaller cage with more rats.



[ Parent ]
not bad (2.33 / 3) (#279)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:07:43 PM EST

no really... you have given the best reply to my query yet.

the racial tension on the us is overrated by foreigners. they think we are stuck in the sixties or something. my ex-fiance was black, i am white. no big deal, really.

the us is in love with its stupid gun. our love affair with it costs us a regular river of pine boxes yearly. and the morons who stand in the way of appealing the second amendment make me want to gag. they think we need minutemen or something. idiots.

unpatriotic harassments? again, overrated by foreigners. you can burn flags, yell about how much you hate being america. no one cares. it is not an orwellian police state here. no one disappears for saying unamerican things. it's not north korea for crying out loud.

as far as healthcare, education: you get what you pay for. canadians regularly harangues their own healthcare and lust after something better. i'm not saying america offers anything better, but our healthcare system is great... if you can pay for it. therein lies the problem: it is essentially classist. but the socialist healthcare alternatives only dumbs down the quality for everyone and it certainly doesn't make healthcare euqal for everyone: the rich still get better healthcare since they just go to the best clinics/ hospitals in the us anyways. i think both canadian and american healthcare sucks equally, but for different reasons.

i really like vancouver. stanley park on the tip of the city is absolutely gorgeous. so your quality of life point is good. but i think they put prozac in the water supply in that city. i was so sick of everyone being ridiculously bend over backwards friendly to me i wanted to punch someone. canadians are just too damn friendly, it borders on laughable genuflecting. if that is national character, then the national character of canadians is that of kiss your ass and smile.

i have been making a career of trolling canadians since before i even got on the internet. it's absolutely hilarious pissing off canadians by doubting their relevancy as a nation. they really have a huge chip on their shoulder about their relevance. i got this drunk canadian guy ready to punch me once. it was fucking hilarious to see him go all red faced when i doubted the stupid nation aka canada.

canadians have a huge inferiority complex about it all. i can troll canadians all i want. but so what? my success at trolling canadians is not a reflection of my trolling abilities. it is a reflection of canadian's preexisting inferiority complexes. how much i piss them off is a reflection of how much they doubt their own identity, otherwise, they would just laugh me off if they had confidence/ backbone in their stupid pointless country.

and their feelings of inferiority really just stems from the unavoidable truth: canada is a poorly assembled hodgepodge of the afterbirth of the usa in north america. scraped together and cobbled out of the uk commonwealth. and they almost fell to pieces in the 1990s. a joke of a country.

the us should absorb them somehow. a GUSA, a greater usa. move the capitol to detroit or something, lol ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I got me a hankerin' fer a second nibble (5.00 / 1) (#299)
by someotherguy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:30:14 PM EST

Yes, we Canadians are a bit insecure and lack a national identity. The national identity problem stems from having a small population distributed over a large area. The result is that Toronto thinks they define what Canada is.

However, it isn't just insecurity that causes Canadians to respond to your fishing expeditions. As a rule, we aren't in-yer-face, obnoxious people. However, when we encounter someone like that it gets our ire up. The typical American arrogance, narrow-minded views and rah-rah USA rhetoric completely exposes the lack of understanding of anything non-American (does non-American = un-American?).

As a country, the US was all bent out of shape when the UN didn't support their reasons for war (which were only really suspicions). You come off as babies with your freedom fries, freedom toast and plan to relocate exhumed WW2 soldiers from France to the US. Of course you can't see any other country's point of view because their view is un-American. It seems that you dumb-down issues until they are blank and white - ignoring any of the grey parts because they only complicate things.

In fact, I get angered when I watch CNN or any prime-time news program. It goes like this: war on Iraq, latest big murder stor(y/ies) (right now Laci Petersen), sports, weather, brief mention of international items, and then something completely superficial like "How you can lose ten pounds before your prom without giving up gluttony." At least half of the time on the big news stories is spent talking to "experts" to get their enlightened views - speculation passed off as news.

Most of the American public must be taking this in as the complete news - its what is fed to them. Unfortunately, we Canadians have this fed to us as well since our cable providers carry these channels too but I'm thankful we have quality public broadcasting and local news to balance the information we receive.

You may fancy yourself as untouched by this media because you're above the average American but you're still surrounded by idiots who take it as complete truth.

BTW: I don't remember Canada "almost falling to pieces in the 1990's". If you're referring to Quebec trying to separate I honestly can say that wouldn't affect me as a Canadian - that's not true - I wouldn't have both French and English on my cereal box. As far as for them leaving, any eight -year old threatening to run away from home needs to have their bluff called.

[ Parent ]

To be Canadian (3.00 / 2) (#242)
by Sorrow on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:08:57 PM EST

To be canadian means I am free to vote for whomever I wish, I know that when that person has the most votes he will be the leader...Unlike other countries

To be canadian means that I am free to travel in my country and not worry about being stopped by law-enforcement because of the color of my skin, or the country of my origin...Unlike other countries

To be Canadaian means that I do not have to live in fear of who has a hand gun on their person/ in their car/in the house, that only people allowed to have hand guns are law-enforcement...unlike other countries.

To be Canadian means that we try to care for the environment that we have to live in, conservation is a concer to us and reduction of pollution is important (read Kyoto Accord) ....unlike other countries

To be canadain means that we are generally liked world wide and don't have to pass ourselves off as coming from another country when traveling abroad...unlike other countries

To be Canadaian means that we are there to help others when they are unjustly treated and we will defend them to our dying breath, we do not instigate war...unlike other countries

To be Canadian means that we don't Blackmail our allies in to supporting us in bad descions ... unlike other countries

To be canadain means that we believe that each person has a right to live in peace, and we will not demand that they do as we say or else... unlike other countries

To be canadain means that we know that we are not perfect, and there are things that we could do to improve our laws, but we also care more about the  rights of the common man versus the rights of industry ... unlike other countries

Overall I would say Canadians have a very good image of their identity and how they fit into the world, we care about the future and how we are going to get there. Other countries only care about the here and now, instant gratification, hell with the future, because of this attitude concers about the environment, culture, and the general well being of it's population are secondary to industry, commerce, parinoia.

In every MAJOR conflict canada was there before the Americans to support and fight for what was right, Canada was in WW2 2 years before the americans, in WW1 Canada was there 3 years prior to the arrival of the Americans.

[ Parent ]

Canadian inferiority complex (5.00 / 2) (#245)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:15:48 PM EST

I like Canada just fine, and I take your points well, but isn't it a bit sad that nearly every aspect of your Canadian identity hinges upon direct comparison to the US? Isn't there ANYTHING you guys can do that is remotely unique and original?

And don't give me this shit about minorities and foreigners getting some kind of kingly treatment in Canada... Go outside Toronto, Vancouver, any of the big cities, you'll find the suburbanites and rurals to be little different from Americans, and a hell of a lot more sanctimonious.

[ Parent ]

Canadian Realism (1.00 / 1) (#250)
by Sorrow on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:36:37 PM EST

Not once, til the end did I compare ourseleves to americans, I left that up to the reader.

You belive that I was implying Americans, the problem with that thinking is that you are beleiving that when someone posts a comment like this comparing themselves to others, you just assumed it was the americans that i was tlaking about...Which i was not.

 There are over 180 countries in the world, I could have been talking about any one of them, and in most cases I was, it just so happens that a lot of these examples also apply to the United States.

You are correct, we do not give "kingly treatment" to minorities, but we at least TRY to treat them with some respect and kindness, BUT when we find out immigration system abused we fight back and impose tougher rules to entry to canada, but we still have lax regulations compared to other places in the world. As for going out side of the "Big cities", the big cities here are trying to emulate american cites they are the areas of racial instablity and intolerance, the small cities and riral areas are the areas that are much more tolerable. But over all we don't blame a group of people for our problems (read Americans blaming Muslims for Terrorism) and start a witch hunt for them. We don't imprison people (at least that often) unjustly because of who their grandparents were, we don't number then when we capture them during war, we don't take there belongings and money from their bank accounts and tell them it is spoils of war or they are using it to fund terrorism...History is repeating itself....

[ Parent ]

I've got it! (5.00 / 2) (#260)
by gauntlet on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:30:29 PM EST

Being Canadian means having nothing better to compare your country to than America!

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

ok (5.00 / 1) (#258)
by gauntlet on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:22:43 PM EST

First of all, Peter Jennings. He's not a comedian or a sports celebrity, and he's famous. So there.

Canada is a leftover, hey? Or, you could say, Canada managed to accomplish independence and a better standard of living with fewer resources, fewer people, shittier weather, and without killing each other in a civil war.

Everyone who is someone in Canada goes to the US. Yeah, that's true. It's also true that more than a fair share of the people that are someone in the US came from Canada. So what? We're talented, and you're rich? Bravo.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

ahem. (none / 0) (#206)
by bhearsum on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:18:26 PM EST

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Know where he was from? That's right, Canada! Get your fucking facts straight.

[ Parent ]
and he went to the us (none / 0) (#209)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:43:23 PM EST

just like gretsky, tom green, the boys in the hall and mike meyers, etc...

everyone who is canadian who rises above the drek immediately transfers to the us

a joke of a country

would someone canadian please explain to me what it means to be proud and canadian?

i don't know how you can be proud and canadian. there is nothing unique to your culture. everyone who is someone from canada comes to the us. a hinterlands where nothing and happens and no one cares.

there is no meaning to being canadian. you are just unabsorbed geographic afterbirth of the birth of the us.

all you got going for you is vancouver, nice city, i like it. ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Aboot Canadians (3.00 / 1) (#255)
by John Bayko on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:05:20 PM EST

Canadians have two features relative to Americans:
  1. They are generally much better informed about the rest of the world in general, and about politics in particular.
  2. They are incredibly thin-skinned when dissed, or mistaken for Americans. They will get defensive before you've even finished your sentence, and reflexively bring up a number of prepared topics: Medicare, War of 1812, Canadians who went to the U.S and Accomplished Something, peacekeeping, or any number of (many, many) American deficiencies.
Americans, by contrast, are confident enough to ignore these things - and as a consequence, remain unsullied by things such as knowledge or wisdom.

[ Parent ]
Read the comment (5.00 / 2) (#211)
by Jack McCoy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:16:29 PM EST

Did he invent it by 1781?

Jesus, the question of who invented the telephone, or what nationality they were, never once came up. You canadians are like those Gentoo users on Slashdot; you have to bring up how great canada is in every single discussion. Your "Alexander Graham Bell is canadian" is the equivalent of the 13 year old "linux d00d" bragging about how he can get the latest gnome cvs by "emerge gnome". In both cases it's juvenile and unneeded.
-- Jack
[ Parent ]

Congratulations (3.00 / 2) (#226)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:58:37 PM EST

You've just annoyed every Canadian kuro5hin user.

[ Parent ]
what do you think i am trying to do? (5.00 / 1) (#284)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:16:04 PM EST

canadians have a huge inferiority complex about their joke of a country. they really do.

look at it this way: i can troll canadians all i want. but so what? my success at trolling canadians is not a reflection of my trolling abilities.

it is a reflection of canadian's preexisting inferiority complexes.

how much i piss them off is a reflection of how much they doubt their own identity, otherwise, they would just laugh me off if they had confidence/ backbone in their stupid pointless country.

and therein lies the nugget of truth: i am successful at trolling canadians. phenomenally successful. and that tells me a lot. i have been making a career of trolling canadians since before i even got on the internet. it's absolutely hilarious pissing off canadians by doubting their relevancy as a nation. they really have a huge chip on their shoulder about their relevance. i got this drunk canadian guy ready to punch me once. it was fucking hilarious to see him go all red faced when i doubted the stupid nation aka canada.

their feelings of inferiority really just stems from the unavoidable truth: canada is a poorly assembled hodgepodge of the afterbirth of the usa in north america. scraped together and cobbled out of the uk commonwealth. and they almost fell to pieces in the 1990s. a joke of a country.

here: if i picked on a japanese person about the relevancy of the nation of japan they would scratch their head and think i was loony. of course japan matters! if i picked on a brazilian about how stupid the nation of brazil is to exist, they would think i was insane. what is my problem? why am i attacking brazil? what is the point i am trying to make? how bizarre?

but a canadian? they BUY RIGHT INTO IT. they have preexisting doubt. i didn't place that doubt there. that doubt exists in canadians regardless of my trolling.

my trolling of canadians is TOO EASY. because canadians know the truth: the nation of canada is a big fucking joke. otherwise, they would ignore me. but everytime i meet a canadian online or in public i immediately beign picking at their scab of an inferiority complex over their stupid country. and they fall to pieces. it really is hilarious.

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I'm sorry (1.00 / 1) (#287)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:42:11 PM EST

I couldn't make it through your entire comment--it's rather incoherent. I got the jest of what you were saying, and here is my answer: Most Canadians do have an inferiority complex, but we are also fiercely proud of our national accomplishments.

The fact that you would not know of these merely reinforces another widespread belief: that Americans are intellectually lazy and generally ignorant.

You call it trolling; I call it ignorance.

[ Parent ]

it is ignorance and trolling on my part (5.00 / 1) (#290)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:48:42 PM EST

and entirely enjoyable watching canadians choke on their lack of self-confidence in their stupid excuse for a country ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
It must require a genuine dullness (1.00 / 1) (#343)
by skotolux on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 03:54:56 PM EST

of wit to find such enjoyment in something so banal and low-browed.

For the record, I am Canadian, and I do not find your comments very inflammatory, but I'm from Alberta so my sense of Canadian identity is severely lacking anyways.


[ Parent ]

Ah, good old Alberta (1.00 / 1) (#377)
by GoWest on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:51:35 PM EST

I'm ignoring the pathetic and horribly weak anti-Canadian troll: His justification for his pathetic trolling techniques I find fascinating given that you only need to drop a "USA sucks because..." message on any message board to get hundreds of virulent replies. I guess Americans are just insecure to dare defend themselves. However, let me get started about Alberta.

Alberta is Canada's Texas, only full of a bunch of fiercely traitorous greedy assholes instead of Texans (though they try their hardest to be like Texans).

Albertans define their political beliefs by basically waiting for Ontario to pronounce a belief and then picking the opposite. Does Ontario vote Liberal? Well damnit Alberta votes !Liberal. Does Ontario lean against the war. Well damnit then Alberta loves the war! If Ontario said that red was their favourite colour, Alberta would immediately choose any colour other than red. If you want to talk about inferiority complexes, Alberta is a perfect case study: Albertans write to our national paper complaining that SARS in Toronto was described as a "National Crisis", which somehow insults them -- To them it's nothing more than a regional issue (because Albertans have such envy over the status of Toronto, that they convince themselves that it's a little regional issue, rather than a economic crisis affecting the entire country): While the world is busy calling the SARS crisis in Toronto an _INTERNATIONAL_ crisis, Albertans are busy convincing themselves that it's not their business (such is the nature of greedy, traitorous Albertans). They claim that it's an afront and and outrage that it's getting political attention. Oh, poor poor traitorous Albertans, how we weep for thee.

Albertans like to talk about themselves as "The West", and usually like lumping any province West of Ontario with them.....ignore the fact that Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia are so diametrically opposed with the political views of Alberta, and are basically communist in comparison.

[ Parent ]

somewhat true, but you sound angry about it (1.00 / 1) (#381)
by skotolux on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 03:57:58 AM EST

I generally agree. Reading the editorials or letters to the editor in a paper like the Calgary Sun (which I read to be shocked and awed from time to time), I get genuinely frightened by these Albertans, which are probably typical of a sizable minority of Albertans.

Seriously though, I don't think most people have this anti-Ontario outlook. They (we) just perceive that we do not have any power at the federal level and feel that our money is being wasted on executive orders from Cretien such as a very expensive national French language program,  expanding government (i.e. 39 cabinet members, which may be a meaningless metric, but it sure pisses Albertans off), an incredibly botched gun registration and control attempt (which cost billions), and any other outrage of the week. Albertans, most of whom are conservative, feel that it is currently impossible for a conservative government to be elected to power in Canada to have any sort of power to oppose the Liberal majority, and this pisses them off. When you have no perceived ability to have your views heard or acted on, it generates anger and that redneck bitching you seem to be familiar with.

I don't know if you have a particular drum to beat or what. Traitorous is a pretty harsh accusation and as for greedy, well many people in Alberta still remember the mid 80's, where unemployment was very high (~15% in calgary in 83) and the oil and agricultural industries were just tanking.

[ Parent ]

Canada is a source of comedians (none / 0) (#271)
by epepke on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:04:42 PM EST

Canada produces a lot of really good comedians. But as some of the responses to your post indicate, Canadian audiences take things a lot more seriously than American audiences, so if a Canadian comedian wants to do something other than American jokes or slapstick, he and/or she generally comes to the U.S. For example, the entire Second City group plus Mike Meyers, Dan Ackroyd, Phil Hartman, Lorne Michaels (producer of Saturday Night Live), Howie Mandel, oldies like Mort Sahl and Rich Little, even Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong.

Even Mack Sennett, who did the Keystone Kops was Canadian. OK, that was slapstick, but it was also a long time ago.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Not energetically viable (3.66 / 6) (#126)
by pmcget on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:37:10 AM EST

If it takes more than one barrel of oils worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil from the tar sands then it doesn't matter what the price of oil is - it will never be economically viable to tap these resources. That is what makes middle eastern oil so valuable. It is all lying just underneath the surface so the cost of recovering it is incredibly cheap.

that makes no sense (none / 0) (#146)
by Captain Segfault on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:35:56 AM EST

Umm... if it costs more than a barrel of oil worth of energy to extract it, then why is it cheaper to extract than a barrel of oil?

[ Parent ]
That's exactly the point. (none / 0) (#169)
by TheEldestOyster on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:24:32 AM EST

It's not. Arabian oil is cheaper, not the tar sand stuff. Slight ambiguity in the wording.

--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
oil prices (5.00 / 1) (#181)
by Shren on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:45:22 AM EST

Here's an article about oil prices.

But in summary, oil prices have bottomed out around 22$ in recent years and has hit as high as 33.70$ in the world market and 38$ in some local markets. So if you can extract oil for 14$ a barrel, then you can make a good penny selling to your neighbors. After all, sure you can pump crude in the Gulf for 2$ a barrel, but how much does it cost to get it to Alberta, counting transportation and tarrifs?

Extracting oil from the sands described in this article is becoming more economic every day.

[ Parent ]

The literature of the tar sands; Gateway, Athabasc (4.33 / 3) (#131)
by georgeha on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:47:22 AM EST

Frederick Pohl's Gateway uses a miserable existence mining oil from the tar sands as the starting point for his series.

Alistair McLean sets one of his generic thrillers there, entitled Athabasca.

One of Jack London's most famous short stories was going to take place in the tar sands, but his editors rejected the idea that starting a fire would result in a huge explosion, so he changed it.

Oil for Food (none / 0) (#178)
by Moebius on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:39:03 AM EST

/me whips out his beloved and well worn 1978 paperback of Gateway...

I should point out that in Gateway, they extracted the oil in order to grow yeast to produce food.

Funny.  In the old days oil used to bubble right out of the ground!  And all people thought to do with it was stick it in their automobiles and burn it up.


[ Parent ]
Sexiest source of oil? (2.33 / 9) (#135)
by Hektor on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 08:13:42 AM EST

Well, how about virgin oil? I don't mean virgin olive oil - I mean virgin oil. All you need to do is to massage her the right way, heat her up a bit, and the oil will flow - slowly.

Not THAT is the sexiest source of oil.

ugh (1.75 / 4) (#148)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:46:31 AM EST

shut up

[ Parent ]
thank you n/t (none / 0) (#167)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:15:18 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Does it deserve more? (nt) (none / 0) (#168)
by TheEldestOyster on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:22:05 AM EST


--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#171)
by jt on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:44:10 AM EST

he should throw in something about the original poster being socially-maligned mongoloid afterbirth

[ Parent ]
racist (none / 0) (#270)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:53:50 PM EST

'mongoloid' is a racist term

[ Parent ]
the downside (4.50 / 2) (#170)
by phred on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:28:25 AM EST

is your car will break down in the most hideous fashion approximately once a month.

[ Parent ]
Wouldn't work (5.00 / 1) (#274)
by godix on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:30:55 PM EST

Virgins are even more rare than oil wells in America.


"This is a great day for France!"
- Richard Nixon at Carles De Gaulle's funeral
[ Parent ]
Get lost. (none / 0) (#311)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 12:45:26 AM EST

Goddamn, why does this need to happen with every single damned article?

Your so-called risque "sexual" so-called jokes are stupid and unfunny.

They only highlight your own sexual inadequacy.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Just take it OK??? (3.80 / 5) (#145)
by bobzibub on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:26:09 AM EST

Please don't shoot!
; )

keep your goddamn hands off antarctica (2.64 / 14) (#159)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:58:24 AM EST

antarctica is an international zone without anyone claiming ownership. can you fuckers just leave ONE place on earth without exploiting it for profit? how much money do you need before it is enough?

You're using electricity and petrochemicals ... (5.00 / 2) (#179)
by joegee on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:41:41 AM EST

... to come online. I doubt if you use a bicycle to go everywhere you want to go. The synthetics (carpet, furniture, finishes, food containers) around you use petrochemicals. Not only do you use them to wash your body (soaps, shampoos, conditioners, creams), quite possibly you clothe yourself in them (leatherette, rayon, polyester, the soles, stitching, and possibly the panels of your shoes).

Wherever you are, your hands may not be as big as American hands which admittedly waste shamefully large amounts of energy and resources, but they're in the petrochemical pie too.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
compare the levels of usage please (4.50 / 2) (#267)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:50:24 PM EST

lets say that all my clothes are vinyl. add up the plastic it takes to make a computer, paint in the house, hoses in the water/sewage system in the house, the clocks, misc kitchen things, etc. now how many barrels of oil did it take to make that stuff? including the energy input?

now, please compare all that to the number of barrels of oil it takes to drive an SUV (15mpg) vs a sedan (25mpg) vs a minicar (35mpg) and tell me how much oil im using by these various uses?

[ Parent ]

I agree that Antarctica should be left alone ... (4.00 / 1) (#372)
by joegee on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 02:38:43 PM EST

... yet you and I both use petrochemicals as part of our daily routine.

I am an American. Three months ago I bought the first car I have owned in several years. It's older, but it's not an SUV. I am single, I have no kids to run around, and I live in a small city. I only drive this vehicle when a destination is farther than I can comfortably walk -- about two miles. I use fluourescent lighting extensively in my home, I recycle whenever possible, and I make purchase choice like lawn care equipment based on CO2 emissions I have a mechanical push mower, and I use scissors for trimming.

If everyone were to make just a few more responsible choices we could eliminate the need to open up new drilling areas/sources of petrochemicals, and yet even if the world were to convert to a hydrogen economy there are certain cases where petrochemicals are the only choice for the manufacture some non-recyclable products we consume every day, including quite a few of the higher grade durable plastics and synthetics we frequently use.

I think if we (Americans foremost, and "westerners" in general) were to just be a bit more careful in our use of these resources (petrol and petrochemicals) the price per barrel of oil would drop sufficiently to cause companies to want to shrink production. The shrinking demand would take the profit out of expansion of drilling, and we could protect untapped/unexplored resources like Antarctica, and Canadian and Alaskan wildlife areas as certainly as by legislation.

Any and all of us who consume these products can contribute, it's not just "you people need to change your ways." We need to do it.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Just Who Do You Think You're Talking To? (4.50 / 2) (#187)
by Western Infidels on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:13:42 PM EST

can you fuckers just leave ONE place on earth without exploiting it for profit?

NO!

Like, duh.

[ Parent ]
All of it. N/T (none / 0) (#190)
by ph0rk on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:14:31 PM EST


[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]
Canada != Antarctica! (1.00 / 1) (#193)
by mveloso on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:27:30 PM EST

Alberta is about as far from Antartica as, well, Canada!

Hahaha!

http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/maps/reference/provincesterritories/alberta/referencemap_view_image

Looks like another slashot reader! "oh, I didn't bother to read the article, I just posted a comment demonstrating my ignorance."

[ Parent ]

Looks like another slashot reader... (3.00 / 2) (#203)
by batkiwi on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:04:27 PM EST

...failed to check the user history of the person posting and realize that they'd been trolled, quite successfully.

[ Parent ]
RTFA (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by lurker4hire on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:06:37 PM EST

"There are many places such as Antarctica where large deposits of light crude may exist that we don't yet know about. If such reserves are found, it will obviously undermine the importance of tar sands for another century or two."

sheesh!

[ Parent ]

Tumeric, I BEGGED you to get some therapy! (5.00 / 2) (#249)
by cryon on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:31:41 PM EST

and now look at you....
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
well why dont you give me some money then (3.66 / 3) (#265)
by turmeric on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:47:10 PM EST

therapy costs alot.

[ Parent ]
what? (3.66 / 3) (#310)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 12:41:52 AM EST

earn your own money, you damn hippy.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

i do, dickface (4.00 / 3) (#363)
by turmeric on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 12:00:55 PM EST

unfortunately in the workers paradise of america, what i earn doesnt get you your own apartment much less a shrink

[ Parent ]
Umm. You were taking me seriously? (none / 0) (#366)
by cryon on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 05:02:17 PM EST

The "begged you to get some therapy" is a line from the movie, Tootsie. Remember, when Dustin Hoffman's character surprises his agent by dressing up as a woman and getting an acting part?
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
Right for oil, wrong for the future (4.40 / 5) (#177)
by whitemagic on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:38:27 AM EST

Alberta certainly has plenty of pontential for oil, though I am not so sure that we should be eyeing to use it.

Today we have the technology for making cars that burn less fuel and are more environmentaly friendly. Yet a large percentage of the North American market does not buy into this because these cars are not sexy or macho enough (believe me, SUVs are more dangerous than cars - high center of gravity, etc). If you take a look at the cars being built in Europe and in Japan you can see that these vehicles already exist, because in their home markets fuel is expensive and thus is an incentive for the buyer to look for something that will save them money in the long term. The probem is, in North America, all too often we care about the short term, so instead of bitching to the car companies for not selling fuel efficient cars, we bitch to the oil companies for making the fuel too expensive. I feel it is really time for us to get our priorities straight.

While the electric engine is still a distant future, because of storage and charging issues there are definetly solutions that are more attainable today:

  • Diesel engines would be a first step. Diesel engines have evolved greatly in the past few years to the point where you wouldn't notice that you are driving a diesel car. Other improvements include the reduction of particle emitions. The reason I mention diesel is because for the same fill a diesel will be capable of driving twice the distance than that made by a petrol driven car.
  • Hybrids would be the next. Because the engine turns at a fixed rate it is much easier to optimize the fuel efficiency. I have heard tha Honda is planning to convert its whole line to hybrid since it would make it more affordable.
So you see, the idea in the immediate future is not to break our dependency with oil, but to ween us off it.

Another reason is that there is something called 'blood-oil', which is in the same vain as 'blood-diamonds'. This being that there are a number of wars happening around the world today that are happening because of oil. By weening us off this dependency we reduce the oil related blood-shed and also reduce the need for huge military budgets to intervene in these wars.

Lastly, a certain number of potential oil reserves north of the border and in wild-life reserves and place that are best left alone from the greed of oil exploration. If these reserves can't be protected from oil exploration then is there anything left that is sacred. How can we complain about the Amazon, if we do the same thing to our own forests.

I won't hide the fact that I consider myself an ecologist and at the same time find it difficult to live by those ideals, in today's society.

Hah (4.66 / 3) (#195)
by trhurler on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:33:43 PM EST

Your facts are all screwy. First of all, SUVs are both safer and less safe. You see, "safety" is not a single continuum. In some ways, an SUV is better(it has more mass, the real ones have a truck style frame, etc,) for its occupants(but typically worse for occupants of another vehicle,) and in others, it isn't as good(typically lacks automotive safety items like crush zones.) But, as more and more of the SUVs people buy are built on car chassis, they're getting those safety features, and the higher center of gravity does not outweigh the safety benefits of more mass(statistically, almost all automotive deaths are due to crashes at excessive speed - rollovers are scary, but they're also a tiny minority of fatal accidents. Most rollovers are survivable.) I drive a car, but I don't pretend the guy in the Suburban is less safe than I am, because he's not.

Second, pure electrics are probaby viable in the next ten years, especially for urban dwellers who never leave their comfy little concrete jungles. However, nobody except loonies will buy them, because even with good development, they will still suck for a long time to come.

Third, hybrids do not run the engine at a fixed speed, UNLESS they're equipped with a CVT, which some but not all are, and there are gasoline powered cars with CVTs also. Claiming that this is a benefit of hybrids rather than of CVTs is simply wrong.

Fourth, diesels CAN be more efficient, BUT diesel is also much nastier fuel than gasoline, even in modern engines. It is dirtier, and there is serious question as to whether we could produce enough of it if everyone started using it(it relies more heavily than gasoline on the longer hydrocarbons in crude, and there's only so many of those.)

Fifth, Honda may convert their line to hybrids(although it'll be a slow process,) but this is not because it is affordable. It is more expensive. Cars that would cost $15,000 cost $20,000 instead, and the gasoline savings does NOT offset that unless you keep the car for something like ten years, by which time the increased maintainence requirements of hybrids will bite, so you still won't save any money. Honda is doing it as a PR move and because it can be used to boost performance as well as fuel economy(see the rumored new NSX.)

Finally, you missed some of the real environmentally friendly trends in future cars. Hydrogen cars can turn oil dependence into electrical dependence, and we can generate electricity in clean ways(though we usually don't at the moment.) CNG cars are a lot cleaner than either diesel or gasoline. Etc, etc.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (5.00 / 2) (#214)
by gengis on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:24:44 PM EST

You list a laundry list debunking much of what was said by the parent, and then you claim "Hydrogen cars can turn oil dependence into electrical dependence, and we can generate electricity in clean ways(though we usually don't at the moment.)"

You can't be serious, can you?  You're nit-picking things like a $5,000 added cost to a hybrid car, but are willing to neglect the trillions of dollars in new infrastructure that would be required to support a hydrogen economy?

[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 0) (#237)
by trhurler on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:23:31 PM EST

You're nit-picking things like a $5,000 added cost to a hybrid car, but are willing to neglect the trillions of dollars in new infrastructure that would be required to support a hydrogen economy?
Yes. The latter is a solution. The former is a lame stopgap that doesn't even really help matters much because only activists and truly guilt-prone people will even consider it.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Crackers (5.00 / 1) (#266)
by epepke on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:49:04 PM EST

it relies more heavily than gasoline on the longer hydrocarbons in crude, and there's only so many of those

There's only so much of that, but there's more than is being used now, because oil companies still use catalysts called "crackers" to break them down to produce more gasoline at the expense of some loss of total chemical energy. So, while it may not be possible for everyone to drive diesel, having more cars be diesel would work fine and save a little bit of energy.

You're right that diesel is vile, though.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
All toyotas to be hybrid by 2012 (none / 0) (#205)
by Nuke Skyjumper on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 01:07:27 PM EST

It's not Honda, it's Toyota: http://www.auto.com/industry/iwird25_20021025.htm

[ Parent ]
much simpler solution (none / 0) (#213)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:24:39 PM EST

How about banning cars in cities unless you demonstrate absolutely that you need one? People in rural areas, sure, they aren't going to have convenient rail service or be within walking distance of everything they need. But the majority of westerners use far more energy than is necessary, and their cars are the chief source of the waste.

At some point or other, we will realize that the mad rush of traffic is like a cancer eating our civilization from the inside out, and you must admit that the source of the oil, whether it comes from despotic Saudi Arabia or the white liberal haven of Canada, is relatively unimportant.

[ Parent ]

Democracy (none / 0) (#219)
by waxmop on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:38:45 PM EST

How would you ever get a majority to vote for banning cars? It will never happen. I think you oughtta focus your effort on something that is at least remotely possible.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]

not banning them everywhere (5.00 / 1) (#222)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:52:27 PM EST

Just have them be much more highly regulated, commensurate to their environmental impact. If people living in rural areas want them they can get licenses. Of course, with this system you would just have rich people arranging to get the car licenses even if they would not need a car at all...

[ Parent ]
It's already been tried before. (none / 0) (#309)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 12:41:12 AM EST

By the communists. And it didn't work.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Diesel (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by Lagged2Death on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:41:42 PM EST

Diesel engines have evolved greatly in the past few years to the point where you wouldn't notice that you are driving a diesel car. Other improvements include the reduction of particle emitions.

I'm all for fuel efficiency. But I don't buy the "diesels are clean now" meme that gets passed around now and again. Sure, they're leaps and bounds better than the diesel horrors visited on us by the cars of the late 70s and early 80s, and still rained down on us by many trucks and buses.

The EPA rates cars in fuel efficiency, global warming potential, and air pollution. The VW diesels score well in fuel efficiency, and due to the consequently low CO2 emissions, in the global warming category. But on air pollution, they score a 1 on a 0-to-10 scale, 0 being the worst. Most cars score around 7, and the Japanese hybrids score 10. Judging from the stink that a brand new VW Jetta diesel spews on the freeway, I imagine they've earned their dismal "1" rating. They've got some more work to do here.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]
Mideast Oil is EXPENSIVE (3.75 / 4) (#188)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:14:08 PM EST

In the early 50's, the US had capability to economically produce gasoline from coal. Now, some will say that was expensive(about $US 0.30/gal in 2003 $US)--but if you factor in the $1.6 Trillian wasted on various expenditures in the middle east(most directed towards Israel one way or another), synthetic fuel comes out looking pretty good.

I strongly suspect there are some similar techniques that could work for tar sands and oil shale--if proper incentives were provided. An example of incentives, is the legislation proposed by Jim Bowery to promote fusion development. Now, there are long term environmental issues around using any fossil fuel-which is all the more reason to be looking at non-terrestrial materials.

Now, is any of this going to happen? Probably not until after the political breakup and ideological collapse of the decadent, corrupt and unconstitutional government of the United States-which is run by interests seemingly bent on their own self-destruction.



Ah, the sweet smell of conspiracy ... (none / 0) (#200)
by awethu on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 12:56:00 PM EST

The process that the article eludes to is of course the well known Fisher-Tropsch process

Coal is gasified from which longer hydrocarbon chains are build. Sasol used FT commercially for a couple of decades as sanctions made crude very expensive for South Africa in the '70s and '80s.

The process is markedly cheaper and cleaner if natural gas is used to which Sasol is currently switching.

FT is not the only way to produce synfeul from gas (GTL) and every large oil company is performing GTL R&D and/or running GTL pilot projects. Try googling for GTL + <any oil company name>

The cost GTL currently runs at about $18-$20 per barrel largely due to infrastructure depreciation costs. If stranded or flared gas is used as input the cost drops by a couple of dollars, but is still significantly more expensive than most crude extractions.

One needs to look elsewhere for big oil conspiracies.

[ Parent ]
FT Economics (none / 0) (#229)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:01:32 PM EST

The folks that I've talked to that worked at the plant described in the original article said that the article was in error in one major detail: there were three plants not two--and the third plant that was built by US technicians worked quite a bit better than the plants brought to the US from Germany. The fact that so many records have been sealed for so long is still strange.

Now, even assuming that you are correct in your $20/barrel estimate for Synthetic fuel, the question remains: which is cheaper $1.6 Trillian subsidizing oil companies or synthetic fuels? I would also keep in mind that the tax structure tends to have a _BIG_ effect on perceived costs of capital intensive projects like synthetic fuel plants-it is plausible to me the incentives might change with a little different tax structure.



[ Parent ]

Where's the 1.6 Trill number from? (none / 0) (#241)
by RyoCokey on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:05:45 PM EST

Sources required before we can debate whether it was a good investment or not.



"Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an enemy is still to kill him." - Ralph Peters
[ Parent ]
Thomas Stauffer (none / 0) (#286)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:29:13 PM EST

In aChristian Science Monitor article this figure by Thomas Stauffer is quoted. I haven't reviewed the work in detail-I tend to think the figure it is a bit low overall--it also includes some things like private charitable donations I _don't_ think should be included here. The big omissions include stuff like the risk associated with a major war--and the various forms of liability the US government has taken on since 911.

Just FYI, my own sense is that countries like the US and UK ought to focus their military efforts outside their own borders through the UN or something like it. I think that the activist military strategy advocated by folks like Wolfowitz is insane.



[ Parent ]

whoops (3.00 / 1) (#217)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:35:33 PM EST

I gave you a five before I read the links. Sorry, being a racial separatist, antisemitic, xenophobic bastard tends to rule out your credibility in my book.

Probably not until after the political breakup and ideological collapse of the decadent, corrupt and unconstitutional government of the United States-which is run by interests seemingly bent on their own self-destruction.

No, you are mistaken. The US government is currently run by interests bent on destroying and/or dominating everyone else's.

[ Parent ]

Re: whoops (3.00 / 1) (#235)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:15:03 PM EST

I gave you a five before I read the links. Sorry, being a racial separatist, antisemitic, xenophobic bastard tends to rule out your credibility in my book.

Well, the question here:
Where is the hole in my argument?

You can say I'm a "bad person"-still where are the factual errors here?

The funny thing here: your note came the day after I exchange 3 e-mails with a 10 year member of the Knesset(Israel's legislative body) who is just as critical of the Israeli goverment as I am.

It seems like you just can't fathom that someone would have serious moral reservations around the role Jews play in the US-or around multi-culturalism without being some kind of genocidal maniac. Believe it or not, I really am concerned about others outside my own narrow nationality-particularly those peoples that have suffered most in recent years-among whom I would include Tibetans, Rain Forest Indians, Pygmies, Kalahari Bushmen. I'll freely admit a special concern for those that "look like me"-but I think most that pretend otherwise are usually tools of some other group or hypocritical.

No, you are mistaken. The US government is currently run by interests bent on destroying and/or dominating everyone else's.

Self destruction and destroying others aren't mutually exclusive. Self-destruction is the logical outcome when someone mistakenly challenges someone that is in fact stronger than they are. I don't see the US as a strong country at this point-I see it as one that is becoming weaker and more over-extended by the day.

[ Parent ]

I'll take the bait (none / 0) (#238)
by jvcoleman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:45:50 PM EST

Well, the question here: Where is the hole in my argument?

The hole in your energy argument is that the US needs more efficiency in its essential needs and less outright waste, not a cheaper or more politically correct source of oil. This is demonstrated time and time again by those countries in Europe that have their own exporting oil source, who still enforce strict guidelines on how much energy people can consume before massive levies kick in. The US has its own oil and millions of the most intelligent engineers and scientists in the world. It's not like making cars, power plants, and factories more energy efficient is some kind of impossible goal.

Also, as others have pointed out, making oil from coal involves a lot of energy by itself, so that's a lot of waste contributed to the overall process that doesn't have to happen. Lastly, burning oil products makes greenhouse gases which someday the US will wake up and realize is bad. So that dispenses with your energy argument.

As for your social-political argument, opposing the occupation of the "disputed territories" in "Israel", which are disputed only by the Israelis themselves, is something I agree with. Doing it because you fear the domination of Jews at various levels of western civilization from the schools to the White House is not. I'm sorry, but that is what I consider to be antisemitic, just as David Duke is. It's because of people like you that the far-right Zionist lobby, which I do strongly oppose, can point to all critics of Israel, from the muslims to white americans, as anti-semitic.

[ Parent ]

Re: I'll take the bait (1.00 / 2) (#288)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:42:58 PM EST

The hole in your energy argument is that the US needs more efficiency in its essential needs and less outright waste, not a cheaper or more politically correct source of oil.

Just FYI, I don't oppose measures that would increase energy efficiency. Years ago, I wrote an article for an environmentalist publication supporting shifting taxes from wage earners to various polluting activities-including use of fossil fuels. I consider much of the 1.6 Trillian spent in various ways in the middle east a subsidy to oil interests and israel--if those costs were reflected at the pump, noone in the US would use Middle Eastern oil-which IMHO would be a very good thing.

This is demonstrated time and time again by those countries in Europe that have their own exporting oil source, who still enforce strict guidelines on how much energy people can consume before massive levies kick in. The US has its own oil and millions of the most intelligent engineers and scientists in the world. It's not like making cars, power plants, and factories more energy efficient is some kind of impossible goal.

I agree that a lot more energy efficiency can be obtained fairly economically.

Lastly, burning oil products makes greenhouse gases which someday the US will wake up and realize is bad. So that dispenses with your energy argument.

I haven't reviewed the greenhouse argument in depth-but I agree there is a serious risk there.

As for your social-political argument, opposing the occupation of the "disputed territories" in "Israel", which are disputed only by the Israelis themselves, is something I agree with. Doing it because you fear the domination of Jews at various levels of western civilization from the schools to the White House is not.

I don't particularly fear Jewish domination of the government of the United States--I accept it as a fact--though I tend to think it a fact that is likely to be temporary.

I'm sorry, but that is what I consider to be antisemitic, just as David Duke is. It's because of people like you that the far-right Zionist lobby, which I do strongly oppose, can point to all critics of Israel, from the muslims to white americans, as anti-semitic.

Real fundamental question here: do you really think that Duke or LaRouche commited the crimes of which they were accused? Is there a reason why folks like Nixon and Billy Graham felt compelled to hide their views/feelings? Noone needs to hide their feelings about Duke-who is a pretty marginal figure really. I'm not a fan of Duke-I have my own serious reservations about him, but compared to folks like Sharon, Lansky, Milken, Boesky and Wolfowitz, Duke is small potatoes. Duke just isn't going to inspire a genocidal incident--Sharon is a madman sitting on top of a nuclear arsenal.



[ Parent ]

What, he's anti-Semite? (1.00 / 1) (#308)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 12:38:53 AM EST

Put him in a death camp immediately!!

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Moral Obligations vs "Rationalism" (none / 0) (#277)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:42:51 PM EST

The US and the West has treated the Middle East with considerable respect for the existing institutions of the people living there, including the Arabs and the Israelis. Some of this expense originated in an attempt to counter Soviet influence in the region, when the Soviets decided to arm the anti-Israeli Arab States in the 1970's.

If the US were to adopt a "realpolitik" rationalistic approach to the region, the oil would be "Free". We'd just invade and take the oil. Why pay the Saudis, Iranians, Iraqis or Kuwaitis a cent? They didn't discover the oil, invent the automobile, create the chemistry of refining, or anything like that. The US could install military bases all over, especially in Israel and Iraq, to keep "The Peace".

The entire population of the region is redundant, and is no longer needed. In fact, the central desert is ideal for nuclear testing and nuclear waste storage. Think of the benefit to the residents of Nevada! All the funding for al-Queda and Hezbollah would be cut off at the knees.

Oil at Five Dollars a Barrel, anyone? One Dollar? Can you say Pax Americana?

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

Uh? (none / 0) (#375)
by valeko on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 10:41:00 PM EST

The reason you can't do that is because it would not be politically sustainable; there is enough tension in the masses of the world to make them snap at overt, classic, literal domination of that kind. And I'm sorry, but America vs. the entire sum of the rest of the world is not a winning proposition, no matter how many weapons and how much money you have.

Besides, it's not very economical to do that. Have you forgotten that the U.S. is an economic empire? It is better to do it through economic mechanisms while propping up the pretense that it's voluntary cooperation of some kind. Direct land occupation is a thing of the past - it's obsolete.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Some companies doing this (5.00 / 1) (#215)
by Barbarian on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:25:11 PM EST


Syncrude
Suncor
Shell
Husky Oil

I have to write a final exam on my Upgrading+Refining course today (at the University of Calgary, so we have looked at the heavy oil projects a lot), and I really should get off kuro5hin, or I'd write a big comment on this. The author has simplified things a lot for this story.

Instead, go to Husky Oil Lloydminster Upgrader Launch Page for a pretty good description of what's going on.

It would be interesting (4.00 / 1) (#220)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:38:50 PM EST

If you submitted any paper on this topic you might have written for one of your courses to the queue. Anything is better than fiction.

[ Parent ]
I laugh (3.00 / 1) (#233)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 03:13:13 PM EST

I laugh at all those in the edit queue who cried that this article would not generate any interesting discussion: ha.

How would you know? (1.75 / 4) (#244)
by RyoCokey on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:14:11 PM EST

Ok, valeko has a fairly large vocabulary for someone who's 17, but that's to be expected, as only the "nerdy" types would be posting to kuro5hin anyway. It's statistically unlikely in general, but not given the setting.

Like his age even matters. Hell, most of the comments of kuro5hin could easily originate from 9 year olds, and most of them sound like they do, anyway. Anyone care to postulate on circletimessquare or turmeric's ages?



"Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an enemy is still to kill him." - Ralph Peters
About the $14/barrel (4.50 / 2) (#247)
by freddie on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 04:27:05 PM EST

The article says that it costs $14 to extract one barrel of oil.  This is not very useful if it doesn't say where those dollars are going to.   I suppose some of it will go to 'experts' and manual labor.  

What concerns me is the percentage of those $14 that are spent on energy (which is probably most of it), to heat that star sand up to 80 degrees celsius.   More accurately those $14 should be rephrased to $14 at such-and-such energy prices.  

To have meanningful cost information one would have to have: the quality of the product, and the amount of energy used to obtain it.  

I doubt that tar sands are as good as the article makes them look.  Perhaps the pricing logic was:  it takes approximately the energy in one $14 barrel of bitumen (really low grade oil) to obtain one $14 barrel of bitumen.  In other words it costs $14 per barrel because that is a convenient figure.

If the actual facts were that positive, I'm sure that they would be trumpeted far and wide, and would have included in the article.

The problem of the amount of energy used to obtain energy is what has made non-oil sources of energy often impractical.  Such is the case of nuclear power, where the energy expenditures of mining the uranium, usually in the form of gasoline, used by the mining industry is similar to the electricity that comes out of the power plant.   With electricity derived from solar panels, the panels may not put out the same amount of energy during their lifetime as the energy that it cost to make them.

This energy expenditures of obtainning oil is catching up with oil itself.  Many new fields that are very deep or low-grade or offshore have a ratio of barrels gained to barrels spent that is less than 2.  


Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

$14 dollars per barrel total (4.00 / 1) (#257)
by Temet Nosce on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:19:24 PM EST

The $14 dollars includes all the operating costs, which means payroll of all employees, research and development, maintenance cost, etc, etc. Every dollar beyond that $14 cost/barrel is profit.

[ Parent ]
it is good oil... (none / 0) (#275)
by bluemonkie24 on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:35:01 PM EST

its been used for years and years....its crazy the amount of time and energy that went into minning this shit...but after its all said and done then its just like any other oil.

The main problem in getting it (the oil) was how to remove the sand cheaply. Im not going to explain it, cuz Im sure the interested could find better explainations on the net and in many many national film board (its a canadian thing) productions.

I have known and many others have known about the tar sands for years....but I do find the amount of product of oil by the sands and canada as a whole to be hirer then I would have expected it. I really now know why the american gov't wants a energy pack with Canada...

I am amazed by the comments about solar not needed cuz we have all this oil. Well oil will run out...and more important then that, its causing crazy amounts of environmental issues and health problems....I think thats more of a worrie then anything

[ Parent ]

mmmm (none / 0) (#276)
by tarsand on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 06:41:10 PM EST

I don't like the $14/barrel estimate.  In fact I know it's plain wrong, at least of a few years ago.  At that time it was taking about $10 - $11 to produce a barrel of synthetic crude.  One should note that a finished barrel of syn. crude requires more than one raw barrel of bitumen to produce, so I am wary of those numbers.  

In reality, the plants use their own production byproducts (coke) and natural gas to produce the electricity and steam required to extract the bitumen.  With large-scale in-situ extraction on the horizon, the energy costs are projected to fall further.


"Oh, no, I agree with tarsand!" -- trhurler
[ Parent ]

Cost has risen... (4.50 / 2) (#280)
by Temet Nosce on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:09:42 PM EST

I believe the cost has risen back up to 13-14 dollars a barrel since it hit that low. I think the blame was shifted on higher natural gas prices, and high project overruns.

[ Parent ]
Profit is the issue (none / 0) (#378)
by Grayputer on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 02:43:12 PM EST

It is not necessary that the cost of production exceed the cost of sale for something to be 'undeveloped'.  Assume the cost of processing the sand is $14/B and the retail is say $20/B, you can make money ($6/B).  Now assume the alternate is pump it out of the ground at say $5/B cost.  The second method generates $15/B profit and the first only $6/B, as long as I can pump it out of the ground and make more money, why process the sand?  Of course, this assumes that the daily pumpable output meets demand.  Or put better, I'll pump as much of the demand as I can to maximize my profit and process only the sand I need to make up the residual demand.

[ Parent ]
You better watch out (4.00 / 4) (#268)
by spacemoose on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:51:25 PM EST

Soon we'll be 'liberating' Canada too...

Tryanny! (none / 0) (#357)
by profit on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 06:36:38 AM EST

It does after all pledge allegiance to a tryanical monarch.

[ Parent ]
I'll see your tar sands, raise you turkey guts (4.40 / 5) (#278)
by dennis on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:00:23 PM EST

As reported in the current Discover magazine, a new process called "thermal depolymerization" can efficiently process your tar sands.

But it can do the same with anything containing carbon. In one end you throw agricultural waste, plastic bottles, municipal garbage and sewage, old tires, medical waste, etc...and out the other end, you get good-quality light oil, natural gas, dry minerals, and water. All with about 85% energy efficiency, and at a cost for the resulting oil of $8-12/barrel. The U.S. could produce enough oil and gas from agricultural waste alone to eliminate its dependence on foreign oil. Philadelphia has a pilot plant to process sewage, and the first commercial plant is just going online, producing #2 fuel oil from Butterball turkey guts.

In short, oil has just become a renewable resource...when you burn oil that comes from agricultural waste, all the carbon that you're putting in the atmosphere came from the atmosphere in the first place.

Incidentally, this is not a new idea in principle, but it was never practical before...took too much energy and made poor-quality oil.

Convert Poop to Heating Oil (4.00 / 1) (#282)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:14:05 PM EST

Discover mag is running this article on a process that converts nearly anything (biological) to heating oil. Sounds almost as good as cold fusion, but uses "Existing" technology. Too good to be true, but where are Pons and Fleischman now that we need them?

Before I'd invest, I'd run the promoters fingerprints through the federal fingerprint databases, but if this pans out, we could end up with a shortage of garbage and of solid waste.

The company's web site explains absolutely nothing, but if I had the formula to convert the contents of my septic tank into heating oil I might keep pretty quiet about it too.

On the other hand, if and when this thing doesn't pan out, we can start spreading conspiracy theories about how the Big Oil Companies "Suppressed it".

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder

Why to oil? If you can produce gas? (none / 0) (#330)
by mami on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 08:47:52 AM EST

It's an old concept and done. I have only German website links for it and no time to read it. But it's available at least twenty years. I remember wondering twenty-five years ago why it's not commercially developed and used much more often. There must be other reasons for it than technical ones. So, go complain with your political representatives.

Look here (if you can read German).

[ Parent ]

They Claim it's Different (5.00 / 1) (#349)
by OldCoder on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 10:08:10 PM EST

See their comparison. They mention biogas (bacterial digestion) as "Bioremediation", which appears to be what your link points to.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
They Almost Claim its Different (5.00 / 1) (#350)
by OldCoder on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 10:58:52 PM EST

They compare their process to aerobic bioremediation, whereas biogas and your link describe anaerobic bacterial conversion (fermentation, more or less). Their process is physical chemistry, biogas is biological.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but do the thermodynamics wash? (none / 0) (#368)
by func on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 11:12:18 PM EST

Sounds good, except that poop is used food. Last time I checked, we use more energy producing a kilo of food than there is energy in that kilo of food. Now, you're going to loose some energy to efficiency losses with each conversion (grain-food-poop-fuel), so I'm wondering if it'll make any difference. Yeah, we just throw it out now, but I think we'd run out of gas if we tried to run everything off converted poop. Plus, in general my car seems to eat a hell of a lot more than me. My bicycle is a different story though...

[ Parent ]
Kudzu (none / 0) (#382)
by OldCoder on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 08:12:31 AM EST

See more on kudzu.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
China (3.00 / 1) (#285)
by gyan on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:20:54 PM EST

In John Bryan Starr's Understanding China, it says that China could have about 456 billion tons of oil (as opposed to Saudi Arabia's proven 261 billion and China's current proven 116 billion). If it oozes out even to about 3/4th of that potential , it would be interesting for the new geopolitical map.

********************************

Corrections (4.85 / 7) (#289)
by yamla on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 07:47:33 PM EST

Some corrections. First, you state that it costs about $14 to produce one barrel of oil from the tar sands. You don't mention what currency that is in but I'll assume this is in U.S. dollars. Syncrude claims it costs only about $18 Canadian (closer to $12 U.S.) to produce one barrel of oil.

You also state that Alberta produces approximately 200 000 barrels of oil per day. This is absolutely not true. When I was working at Suncor, back in 1997 and 1998, they broke the 100 000 barrels/day level. According to this, Suncor now has the capacity to produce 225 000 barrels per day, expecting to more than double this within the next decade. Syncrude, meanwhile, currently produces approximately 230 000 barrels per day. They plan to upgrade production to approximately 400 000 barrels or so per day within the next seven years (based on this).

Now, assuming those are the only two companies in Alberta that are producing oil, that puts the current production at around 450 000 barrels per day, not 200 000 barrels. And in the next decade, this will increase to at least 850 000 barrels per day, not 600 000 barrels.



regular wells: what goes in when oil comes out? (none / 0) (#384)
by festering leper on Sun Apr 27, 2003 at 07:26:31 PM EST

With regard to regular oil wells in Alberta and quite possibly some in the USA:

Don't forget that most of what comes out of the ground has to be replaced! What I mean is, unlike the middle east, most of the oil has to be extracted from the underground reservoir - it's not under any internal pressure.

So, what do most of the oil companies replace the oil with? Water. Fresh water from whatever lakes, rivers or underground aquifers are available nearby. Basically the mechanism at work here is: oil is lighter than water. If you push a barrel of water down the hole up comes a barrel of oil.

As a result oil companies are to taking hundreds of thousands of barrels of water each day completely out of the ecosystem. Of course people are arguing what this means as southern Alberta and areas east are increasingly drought stricken.

I, for one, hope that tar-sands extraction stops the "disposal" of our water.

[ Parent ]
Actually.. (none / 0) (#387)
by ajduk on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 08:44:54 AM EST

That applies to the middle east as well.  

Most oil already comes out of the ground as a mixture of oil and water; increasing 'water cuts' are a fact of production of older fields.  Reinjecting this water solves a waste problem.  Seawater is used where available, or indeed any water not fit for human consumption.  

 

[ Parent ]

Of Greater Concern (none / 0) (#395)
by Adam First on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 01:55:28 PM EST

Injecting water into a well is a tertiary recovery technique that is probably nothing in terms of ecodamage compared to what happens to a well that is improperly plugged.

An improperly plugged well allows fluid to pass between layers of the earth.  Thus a water bearing level will leach the salt from a salt level contaminating the water with salt.

Since only 1 in 10 wells are productive, there are 9 in 10 wells without a good economic incentive for proper upkeep.  The water tables of Texas and Louisianna are in danger.


[ Parent ]

Burninate Canada (2.20 / 5) (#295)
by skord on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 09:25:51 PM EST

Isn't it time we invaded anyway?

We'll bring more men this time (none / 0) (#297)
by OldCoder on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 10:10:41 PM EST

See The Battle of Quebec. We were just kidding the first time.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
The US tried once before (none / 0) (#307)
by isdnip on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 12:01:00 AM EST

And the Canadians got mad.  Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie have great song about it:

http://artists.mp3s.com/artist_song/166/166947.html


[ Parent ]

Fenian Raids (none / 0) (#380)
by mabman on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 11:03:32 PM EST

While not offical US gov't actions, a group of Irish Americans known as the "Fenian Brotherhood" tried to invade Canada a couple of times. They were unsuccessful, but persistent :) See here.
--------------
Mmm, forbidden donut....
[ Parent ]
Another view from inside (4.62 / 8) (#302)
by EngnrGuy on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:08:26 PM EST

I've been working on oil sands projects for most of the last seven years, and have had some peripheral connection with all but one of the major projects in that time, probably closing in on $8 billion in capex.

As others have pointed out, the production numbers are low. Say a tick short of 400,000 BPD today and I can definitely foresee a million BPD within the next 5 years if oil prices stay strong. Shell is coming on stream soon with their Muskeg River project, at 155,000 BPD and Petro-Canada has MacKay River online (30,000 BPD) and is developing more oil sands capacity soon. EnCana has a bunch of SAGD projects on the go, Foster Creek and Christina Lake can do 170,000 BPD potentially. And there is a few others I can't mention that may be coming up.

The main costs included in the $10/bbl extraction are energy, followed by capital costs. Natural gas is the main source of energy, but the newer plants are highly energy integrated. That is, if there is surplus heat in one part of the process it is recovered and used in another part of the process to displace natural gas fired duty. Fired duty per barrel has come down quite a bit. This is a lot of what I do for a living, and I can go on about it for days.

Delayed coking is the main thermal cracking process for Suncor, and Syncrude and the rest use slightly more modern versions of this process as well. Basically, you are breaking big hydrocarbon molcules into smaller hydrocarbon using heat. Because the big molecules are hydrogen deficient, you are left with solid carbon (coke) as a byproduct. After that, you need to clean the smaller molecules up a bit (mostly to remove sulphur) before it can be shipped. What you end up with is synthetic crude, which has a really consistent set of properties and can even demand a premium over conventional crudes.

Most of the major U.S integrated oil companies have some stake in the oilsands. Most of the reserves were claimed 40+ years ago, and the government is starting to pressure the owners of these claims to do something with them or lose them. One of the biggest barriers to further development are a limited labour force, Fort McMurray is a bit remote and there are a lot of projects on the go at one time. This is responsible for a lot of the overruns on the projects that are recently completed. That, and the limitation to the size of equipment we can move up there overland.

Real costs of tar sands (4.80 / 5) (#317)
by tomatoeblue on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 02:47:22 AM EST

These tar sands and the extraction of fossil fuels from them has made quite a stir on Canadian news lately.  The problem is that the cost per barrel is not only high, but the environmental damage is also extremely high.  

First, there is the need to upturn extremely large patches of land.  The tar sands are actually sorta like oily marshes.  The process leaves large pits in the ground, filled with oily residues.  The tar pits in Alberta are considered one of the most toxic areas in Canada.  In American terms, it's kinda like where they store the spent nuclear fuel rods.  The entire area has to be contained in a biohazardous quarentine.  Another factor is the green house gases produced  by the extraction process.  The article speaks of heating the sands to 80 degrees or so.  This actually boils off some of the aromatic elements, and produces tons of greenhouse gases.  The whole operation is in question because Canada will NOT be able to reach the Kyoto protocol limits for greenhouse gases IF extraction continues, or if the process is expanded to produce more barrels per day.

I think the money generated from selling ALL of the potential fuel in the tar sands will not be enough to cover the environmental costs of extraction.  The pollution produced when the fuels are used will only add to the cost.

Unless better ways are available to extract the fuel, I don't think Canada will be able to get that oil out of the ground.

Simple, really (none / 0) (#365)
by kableh on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 04:52:25 PM EST

Just pull out of the Kyoto agreement like US!

[ Parent ]
Canada could claim itself as a developing country (none / 0) (#371)
by Quila on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 11:02:18 AM EST

Then it could produce all the greenhouse gasses it wants.

[ Parent ]
Fuel rods (none / 0) (#379)
by doormat on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 10:00:17 PM EST

In American terms, it's kinda like where they store the spent nuclear fuel rods.

Oh, you mean my backyard?

|\
|/oormat

[ Parent ]
Environmental Risk (none / 0) (#392)
by Urthpaw on Sun May 04, 2003 at 12:47:48 PM EST

The Oil Sands Reclamation Research Network's FAQ has some interesting information about this.

Essentially, recovering oil from the oilsands entails extensive removal of soil, in order to expose the sands themselves. After a stretch of sands has been used, the soil can be re-applied. Unfortunately, in the wake of the oil recovery process, the ground tends to be salty, and unfit for most plants. However, there are processes in the works to recover the majority of this land. These are described in the FAQ.

Also, a Biohazard is a risk from biological agents, rather than a risk to life. Unless syncrude has been tossing anthrax in with the tailings, you're using the wrong word.



[ Parent ]
CNN tomorrow: (4.50 / 8) (#333)
by Viliam Bur on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 09:34:44 AM EST

Saddam is hiding in Canada!

A couple of questions. Extraction tech and price.. (none / 0) (#360)
by idiot boy on Wed Apr 23, 2003 at 09:07:00 AM EST

I read recently that the most that is extracted from an ordinary light crude well is ~10% of the total available in the rock before it becomes too expensive to get at.

First off, is this the case and secondly, I also read that the proportion that can be extracted is rising steadily as extraction tech. advances. What sort of progress is being made in this respect?

Next question then becomes: How much does tech. have to progress (or the price of crude rise) to make getting at whatever is left over in US (Texan etc.) wells viable? I know there are some still producing (prob. quite a lot) but I'd be interested to know whether wells that have been "mothballed" will be able to be reopened at some point when tech. becomes good enough to make it worthwhile.

Lotsa questions I know but I was intrigued 'cos I've got an interest in the North Sea fields which of course came on-line as a result of the twin pressures of an increase oil price (OPEC in the 70s) and advancing tech. (deep sea oil rigs).

--
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself

Don't know where you read that.. (5.00 / 1) (#386)
by ajduk on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 08:41:09 AM EST

The recovery factor for a particular field depends on the geology.  In simple terms, the amount of oil you can get depends of the amount of oil in place minus the amount of oil needed to *wet* the rock.  In the same way, when you wring out a sponge, some water remains keeping it damp, however hard you wring it.

If the reservoir rock is coarse-grained, the internal surface area is relatively low; you might get anything up to 80% of the oil out.  If the reservoir is fine grained/contains a lot of clay/etc, you'll get less.  Below about 10-20% and it's not worth bothering.  There's more to it than that, but it's a start.

Most oil fields lie between these extremes.

Technology has had little impact on all this.  If we take our sponge as an example, imagine taking it out of a bucket of water.  First, the water flows out without any effort on your part ('primary recovery').  When this stops, a gentle squeeze gets a fair bit more ('secondary recovery').  Beyond that, no matter how hard you squeeze, you are unlikely to get much more out.  Oil fields are surprisingly similar.

Technology has not changed this recovery factor.  Reserve reporting standards are the main factor behind the apparently increasing reserves worldwide.

[ Parent ]

Canadian Bacon meets Jorge' de Shrub (none / 0) (#393)
by AZhun on Wed May 21, 2003 at 09:56:06 PM EST

Wow, so that's why Alberta has the Mad Cow Disease...

it's a clever ploy to destroy the Canadian economy, soften it up for invasion...

...and then Jorge' can send in Texaco tycoons disguised as USDA food inspectors...


Personally, I'd go for the stealth and send in British Petroleum (out of Cleveland) and would wait until after November when any Canadians that can travel are Snow Birds in Arizona.

Cheap cigarettes, Coors Beer, and an end to socialized medicine forward ho!

References:
    "Canadian Bacon"
    "Strange Brew"
    "Red / Green Show"
-----------------
OBTW - The U.S. has never attacked "Canada".

There were attacks on the British Empire holdings sometimes collectively referred to as the Dominion of Canada.

Those attacks on British territory by forces from the United States include:
    Revolution
    War of 1812
    Pig War

An invasion by Irish patriots many of whom were former Union Army veterans, did take place from upstate New York, unsanctioned, and had its supply line cut by the U.S. Army under Prsidential orders; a negotiated retreat was for the most part allowed.

(I wonder if this had any influence why later American/Confederate ex-patriots prospecting who took part in a doomed rebellion against the Crown in Austrailia were allowed to leave for the most part peacably after British forces took out resistance in the POME villages involved in the revolt which orhaned in the feild this prospectors' army.)

What was the last time Royal Canadian forces acknowledged putting forth an official War Plan against the U.S.? Aboot 1936

Date of independance from the mother country as Canada: 1971.

Methane Hydrate (none / 0) (#394)
by skewld00d on Sun May 25, 2003 at 12:31:56 AM EST

Supposedly, this stuff is the next "miracule" fuel, as it disolves (releases water) it releases methane. The problem is the logistics of mining the stuff. And the political risks... liberal, eco-nazis (see: greenpeace, sierra club, peta) will cry "bleeding hearts" and "don't hurt the cute, little fishies."

Additionally, hydrogen is not the miracule fuel it is hyped to be, there are no sources of hydrogen except in space and chemically bound in oil. Hydrogen IS a good energy storage fuel, it has a HIGHER energy density than even Li-ion batteries. And hydrogen doesnt break down, u can store hydrogen in a bottle basically forever. Our power industries should get on the ball and roll out hydrogen to replace natural gas AND electricity. There's alot of wasted energy in electricity transmission. H+ no loss when you have except leaks. Think, generate your own electricity at home. And all this chicken-little FUD of explosions and confusion over the difference between chemical and nuclear reactions.

If we really wanted a new source of power cheap/clean? power, we would invest billions into fusion research.


-- The proof of the "Magic Smoke" theory of computing is quite simple; once the smoke is released, the device stops functioning.
trew (none / 0) (#398)
by LilDebbie on Wed Oct 15, 2003 at 09:50:55 PM EST

but it's still immensely cheaper, even with line loss, to produce energy through fission. I just wish people would realize that dumping nuclear waste in the middle of a wasteland isn't really going to make a dent in the environment, but noooo...radioactive stuff tucked away in a mountain in the desert will somehow affect the local ecosystem, which doesn't exist, because it's a desert. I'll stop now.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
As the crosshairs settle on Canada... (none / 0) (#396)
by UCF BullitNutz on Sat Jul 12, 2003 at 03:28:03 AM EST

We're about due for another invasion, aren't we? Than again, sending troops into Africa is a hell of a way to display the US military might. We wouldn't need to bring guns, just large fans.
----------
" It ain't a successful troll until the admin shuts off new user registration for half a year." - godix
World's largest oil reserve | 392 comments (358 topical, 34 editorial, 0 hidden)
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