Buy a Prius, kill the earth?

The cost of anything, when you break it down and break that down and so on, turns out to be the total cost of the energy required to make it.

To make a Prius you need about $28,000 of energy. For example, the metal parts have to be machined (coal for electricity for the mill/lath/cnc and everything it takes to support the worker including fertilizer, pesticides and so on used to grow and transport his or her food) but first the metal must be transported (diesel) and before that smelted (electricity or NG) and before that the ore is hauled (diesel) and mined (diesel, etc...) and so on. The metal doesn't cost anything, it's just sitting in the ground as ore waiting for us to take it. ALL of the costs to make that metal part are the energy required to transform it from the base ore.

The point I'm trying to make is that the COST of the car is the ENERGY used to make the car.

We expect cars to last about 5 years. On the bleeding edge, one tends to bleed. Hybrid cars are not well tested, although they do seem to be holding up well in fleets and as rentals. Let's give it the benifit of the doubt: This thing is going to cost you $28000 / 5 (years) / 52 (weeks per year) / 7 (days per week) or about $15.38 per day no matter how much you drive it. That is how much oil, diesel, coal, fertilizer, pesticide, etc... you will consume with this car each day without driving it at all. If you drive it 40 miles a day (which is about the national average) then you will be spending 38 cents per mile, NOT including the gas.

At 47 to the gallon and gas at $4 (for now) that is $3.40 more or 8 and a half cents per mile. Add some regular maintenance, you are looking at about 49 or 50 cents or per mile.

That is the bottom line: A Prius costs you, and mother earth, about 50 cents per mile.

A Hummer, by the way, costs about a buck a mile.

My $10,500 used 2001 Camry, purchased in 2007, given that it has one of the highest reliability ratings in the world, will very probably last 4 years MORE or 10 years total. It has a proven track record. The mfgr warranty for most of the car is actually 8 years, for pity sake.

$10,500 / 5 (years I plan to own it) / 52 / 7 = $5.77 per day. It gets 23MPG (25 estimated, 23 actual) and I drive about 50 miles per day so add 2.18 gallons of gas at, say $4 dollars per gallon. That is $8.72 per day in gasoline for a daily total of $14.49. I have almost $5 a day more than you to put towards maintenance and repairs.

But that is with my crazy commute. In terms of cost per mile, I pay less than 12 cents a mile to own the car and less than 18 cents a mile to drive it at $4/gal. So that is 30 cents a mile!

If gas stays at $4 I save 20 cents a mile over you!

38 - 12 is 26 cents a mile allowance I have for gas more than you do just because of the base price of our cars. Gas would have to be around $6 a gallon to justify my purchasing a Prius.

At $6 a gallon, there are a LOT of sources for fossil fuels that start making economic sense and so will become available. Oil shale extraction in West Virginia, algae bio fuel, etc...

Maybe they will come out with a lower cost version of some of these hybrids in the next few years and all of this will change, but for now, driving an old beater is the most ecological thing any of us can do.

And then there is the crash test ratings...

www.truedelta.com is a fantastic resource for reliability information. You can compare Prius reliability with Hummers for example.

McCains voting record shows who holds his leash.

Here is the vote the video is reffering to: 2007 Vote 425 on HR 6 to add amendment 3841, the amendment is massive but I believe the part they are reffering to is Sec..1562 "Elimination of the different treatment of foreign oil and gas extraction income and foreign oil related income for purposes of the foreign tax credit." It is interesting that the amendment would have added some corporate welfare for coal producers (see Sections 1509 and 1510), so McCain is apparently NOT in the pocket of big coal...

We needed 60 votes to prevail, and 59 of them were in. But John McCain ducked the vote.

As a result, instead of powering millions of homes with clean energy and building next-generation solar technology, we're giving ExxonMobil and other companies billions in tax breaks at a time when they're already making record profits.

Notice that by not voting, McCain can say that he never voted against removing those tax breaks, while still ensuring that they continue to get them.


choices and motivation reduce happiness.

This talk is based on clinical research which pretty clearly shows the following (summerized in my own words):
  • Choice opens the door for doubt regarding the choices you make
  • Being highly motivated to make the best possible choices and reach the highest possible levels of attainment increases the chances that you will take risks and make sacrifices that will decrease your happiness.
  • In a few months or a year, at most, you will be just as happy as you were before, no matter what actually happens to you.


Does the USA enforce OPEC prices?

It may be that we invaded Iraq, not to increase production and access to oil, but to slow and control its production for the benefit of OPEC, and perhaps, our own benefit as well.

read more digg story

Is that human life?

When you get the chance, read "Freakonomics" (an absolutely brilliant book) and pay attention to the chapter that shows the link between Roe v Wade and the decline in the crime rate just prior to the turn of this century.

In summary, the numbers show that crime declined at a rate inversely proportional to the number of abortions granted women who did not wish to become mothers but who had, nonetheless, gotten pregnant. True enough; if those women had been raised better, perhaps they wouldn't have found themselves in that position, but then that just takes us back to who raised them and to wondering if they were really wanted by their mothers.

Yes, partial birth abortion is sickening. But it is not, IMHO, as sickening as the life of an unwanted child. And that is a failure of our society as much as it is a failure of the mothers. All those people with "right to life" bumper stickers should be legally required to show proof of adoption before they can put that on their cars.

That "life", the thing they call a right, is horrible.... Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wearing rose-colored contact lenses. If there were enough love and caring to go around, I would feel otherwise, but the bald truth is that even more than a deficit of food, shelter, clothing, we have a much larger deficit of love, kindness, and caring. And Harlow's monkeys (as well as many studies on "failure to thrive") have shown that love is just as important as food to the survival of a human. With food, and not love, you might have a thing that breaths, walks, even talks, but it isn't really human.

What is more horrible: A bloody mass of tissue in a bucket, or a thing that steals, kills, consumes and can produce more creatures just like itself? Welfare gave us a prison population of 1 in 100 citizens here in the USA. No where else in the world has there been a welfare system that paid women to have children they didn't really want, and no where else in the world do every 99 people pay to incarcerate the 100th.

Life should be filled with love, joy, and happiness. If it isn't, then it isn't the thing I want to call life. Were it my choice, I would rather be a bucket of bloody parts.


Bush says birth control is abortion!?!?!?

You have got to be kidding me? Well, no, it's real.



Can you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an "abortion" and health insurers won't cover it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?

It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine "abortion" to include birth control. The Houston Chronicle says this could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women's reproductive freedom and protect rape victims. And this proposed "rule change" doesn't need congressional approval.

I just signed a message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this rule change, telling him: "Contraception is NOT abortion." Can you add your voice to this cause? Click here to sign the message:


Seriously, if they manage this change, birth control pills will no longer be something that health care providers need to include as a covered prescription.


From your pocket to Exxon.

Exxon Mobil just broke the all time record for more quarterly profits than any company in U.S. history at $11.7 billion dollars in one quarter. That's nearly $1500 per second. Can you guess whos pockets that profit came from?

It's long past time for real energy independence in America and that starts by making sure oil companies pay their fair share, by getting rid of $13 billion in wasteful tax breaks each year and maybe making them pay a windfall profits tax.

This debate isn't just about dollars and cents. It's not even about the rape of our earth; does anyone remember the Valdez for which they STILL haven't paid damages! It's about real people whose lives are suffering while corporations continue to rake in record profits.

Honestly, I can afford the higher gas prices. What I can NOT afford, is to raise my kids with this sort of greed as an example of life in the USA. My kids need better schools, to show them that we care about our future; about the kids. They need better health care, to teach them the importance of taking care of each other. They need to learn that taking unfair advantage of others will NOT be tollerated.

If you are mad and frustrated, taking a few minutes to visit this site will make you feel better:

Who are they lying for?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkUj9EIINIs Yes, how could we be surprised that Bush the Third was in bed with the oil companies.
http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/industries.php Confirms that the republicans are owned by big oil
Sadly, the news is perhaps even worse for the democrats: Their funding comes from *gasp* Lawyers! (apologies to Dick) Not to mention political organizations, education, Hollywood, and civil servants (which was surprising to me, most GS whatevers I've known were hard core republicans.)
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/sectors.php?sector=E again shows big oil supports McCain, but Obama got lots from them as well. Ag (read Monsanto, ConAgra, etc... ) also supports McCain over Obama, as does Transportation (of course; car companies)
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/sectors.php?sector=B Obama wins big with high tech and the phone companies and is generally on it with financial, insurance and HMO's.
That last part does NOT jive with his campaign promises:
http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/#coverage-for-all Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/sectors.php?sector=D amazingly enough the military was behind Hillary and it pretty much split on the current runners.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure they are all liars... But it's good to know who they are lying for.

HCMV and the middle road.

This is absolutely fascinating to me...

…and may bore you to death. I've bolded the critical parts, and italicized the quotes.


Basically, there is a virus called HCMV that is pretty much harmless... most people who get it (and 90.8% of individuals aged 80 and over are positive for HCMV) will not even notice, although they may have a sore throat for a while. Only immunocompromised people (organ transplant recipients, HIV positive, etc...) and unborn babies need fear HCMV. “Most healthy people who are infected by HCMV after birth have no symptoms.[1] Some of them develop an infectious mononucleosis / glandular fever-like syndrome,[3] with prolonged fever, and a mild hepatitis. A sore throat is common. After infection, the virus remains latent in the body for the rest of the person's life. Overt disease rarely occurs unless immunity is suppressed either by drugs, infection or old-age. Initial HCMV infection, which often is asymptomatic is followed by a prolonged, inapparent infection during which the virus resides in cells without causing detectable damage or clinical illness.”

The real fear is that if a women catches HCMV /while/ she is pregnant, there is a significant chance that her child will suffer a birth defect such as mental retardation. If she already has it, no problem. If she and her healthy baby catch it after the baby is born, no problem. But if she doesn't have it, and then gets it during the pregnancy, there is a problem. "CMV remains the most important cause of congenital viral infection in the United States. HCMV is the most common cause of congenital infection in humans and intrauterine primary infections are second only to Down's syndrome as a known cause of mental retardation."

The most interesting point is that this tragedy is more likely in a modern, sterile, sexually uptight society than it is in a poor, fun loving society: "Due to the lower seroprevalence of HCMV in industrialized countries and higher socioeconomic groups, congenital infections is actually more common than in poorer communities, where more women of child-bearing age are already seropositive. In industrialized countries up to 8% of HCMV seronegative mothers contract primary HCMV infection during pregnancy, of which roughly 50% will transmit to the foetus.[6] Between 22-38% of infected foetuses are then born with symptoms,[7] which may include pneumonia, gastrointestinal, retinal and neurological disease"

This specific cause of birth defects is apparently on the rise in our country. And it’s because we are too clean, too uptight, and not enjoying life; not really getting out there and living. Like the measles, mumps, chicken pox and other infections that are actually good to get early on, HCMV is something that it is probably best to pick up and get over with before you have a child.

Living a life in contact with the earth and others, having a little fun (“French” kissing and “making out”), without having too much fun (NO unprotected sex, including oral sex) will get a young woman her HCMV infection without getting her an STD infection and can actually increase the health of her children when she decides to have them; hopefully later in life. Unlike most STD’s (including HIV
^) HCMV is carried in saliva as well as “other bodily fluids”: “Transmission of HCMV occurs from person to person through bodily fluids. Infection requires close, intimate contact with a person excreting the virus in their saliva, urine, or other bodily fluids.”

So I can see two different stereotypical young women: One, the conservative religious sort who has never kissed anyone except on the cheek, much less “made out” with anyone; who washes her hands compulsivly with anti-bacterial soap, and then gets married to the man her family approves of and bears children as soon as possible because she is expected to do so. Another, who is not afraid of living, who starts dating at an appropriate age and goes out with several guys before she settles down, kissing or even having sex (but always with double protection) before she picks the best husband; having a kid of her own when she feels ready. The baby from the first one is in danger. Of couse, there is the third example, who has unprotected sex with multiple partners and ends up a child with children and STD’s.

As with just about everything in life, the middle road is best. Too much on either side is dangerous.

Yes, actually, checking your tire pressure will do as much as offshore drilling to reduce the price of oil.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/how_to/4276844.html?series=19 Pop Mech has a conservative bent and they checked out Obama's recent comments about proper tire pressure doing as much as offshore drilling to ease our Oil issues.... And even they say he is right!
Offshore drilling will increase our oil supply by about 1 percent and inflating our tires correctly would also save about 1 percent.
Check the pressure on a cold day before driving long distances. Apparently, the correct tire pressure for your car is printed on a plate in the door frame of the drivers door. Honestly, I didn't realize any of that... Pretty clueless of me, I should know better.
Anyway, the McCainites should think long and hard about who is financing his campaign*, and try not to let the fact that Obama was right prevent them from checking their tires and the Obamarinies should take the pledge to inflate their tires and stand with Barack against offshore drilling: