24 August 2009

Fresh Roasted Martian Coffee

I rarely agree with my Representative in Congress. We do not share the same political commitments, nor the same priorities. Even so, she is among my "friends" on Facebook. As a consequence, I saw the update when she spoke at the ribbon cutting for the opening of the North Spokane Corridor, the first drivable leg of the North-South Freeway first proposed in 1946. She (or a staffer) posted a photo on TwitPic, and her Facebook page offered a link.

There are plenty of reasons to question new freeway construction, such as the role it plays in the development of sprawl. I tend to think the construction is too little, too late as far as relieving congestion, but the project offers the opportunity to raise some other questions of my Congresswoman. So, I asked a question of her through this social networking site, although I'm skeptical that she will respond.
Cathy, what are you doing to make certain the project gets completed while there is still petroleum on the planet, and to support the development of vehicles that run on other fuels so the new freeway connecting I-90 to Wandermere will not have been an egregious waste of taxpayer money?
In the ensuing conversation with other "friends" of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, others had questions too.
Garlan Cutler: I was not there but I hope you reminded the folks that, President Obama's mandated health care reform, He will make it work. . Seniors Citizens at 68 years of age will be mandated to CHECK OUT OF MEDICARE to reduce the growth in cost of END-OF-LIFE HEALTH CARE SPENDING. If you are still around at age 70 you will be mandated to CHECK OUT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, that is all the longer that he is guaranteeing you to live.
There should be no doubt that Representative McMorris Rodgers opposes H.R. 3200, as well as nearly everything else President Obama favors. Her constituents, by and large, believe that Obama's central goal is to render the United States of America a socialist state, particularly with respect to health care. She supports these constituents well.

Garlan Cutler is preaching to the choir, as they say. I did not argue with this nonsense. But others took up the mantle. One "friend" of Representative Rodgers told Cutler that he was "sadly misinformed." Another stated, "[s]ome liar has scared you to death"; medicare is safe. Cutler read these efforts to console, and responded with a clear summary of history.
Garlan Cutler: Just look that the history of the world governments and read between the lines and dont be fooled
There's not much to respond to. there. History, as one legal scholar put it so well, "is a protean activist useful for legitimating a predetermined result." If history itself can prove anything, how will anyone be able to pin down what is read "between the lines"?

In the responses to Representative Rodgers' "status," the health care debate was temporarily suspended to allot space for a question directed at yours truly.
Mike Hen: James, do you really think that we will run out of oil? Are you familiar with the new reserves found in Brasil? Are you familiar with the seeps in California or the Gulf of California? Do you really think the project will take a couple of hundred years?
I replied, but without much specificity as the comments went into a second day. My creed with respect to the oil reserves is this: whether they will run out is not a question; there is a question of when. Will I live to see their exhaustion? Petroleum, I had learned in my youth, derives from dead organic matter--brontosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex and their social network--compressed for millions of years. Oil is mined from the earth; it is not renewable.

I added my own lesson from history, with a bit of future projection thrown in, and a smiley.
The world that oil wrought was the twentieth century. That the twenty-first will differ in the main is crystal clear--just look into the ball ;-).
Mike Hen continued with questions and more links; my belief in dinosaur origins was put to the test.
Mike Hen: James, perhaps you'd like to comment on this. There are a number of theories out there that might lead to a reduced concern for the future. One of the considerations is that the atmosphere of Titan is chock full of the organics that are being talked about here. Nature in the raw as it were.
First, I attacked the source, calling WorldNet Daily less than credible, but acknowledged that the story, if true, could lead to revisions of my theory. Then added some practical concerns: I'm not ready to pay for spaceships through a tax on my Chevron Card.
Mike, thanks for the links, although it would be nice to see a source more credible than WorldNet Daily for the possibilities that science might need to significantly revise our understanding of how crude oil is formed. As for tapping reserves in outer space, the consequences for prices at the gas pump seem likely to be unpopular.

Still, it's something to think about.
Then, I did some web surfing, and came up with a science site that corroborated the WND story, albeit with the skepticism endemic to scientists. The LiveScience article also enriched my volcabulary with some new terms that I immediately put to use.
[I]t is a science source rather than an opinion oriented "news" source. According to LiveScience, abiogenic petroleum likely requires thousands of years, just as biogenic petroleum.
Hen thanked me--the civility of our discourse might serve as a model for some of those in Congress--and he continued the interrogation.
Mike Hen: James, an interesting article. The main thing that I came away from it with is 'we don't know how it's done or how long it takes.' It seems the scenario is not quite as bleak as you originally painted it.

BTW, do you have any energy sources that can handle the current requirement without disrupting today's society? If not then I'll have to stick with the current source and I believe that others will reconsider their earlier stand on the green revolution.

BTW 2, I looked at the author not the media presenter, in the WND story. I have no affinity for WND and considered the story in terms of the author's quals.

BTW 3, [;)] Boy do I wish we could drill on Titan, and maybe vacation on Mars.
Enough of my flights of fantasy! Have a good one.
I imagine sitting in a Starbucks on Mars, continuing this conversation with another as unpersuaded by my arguments as I am of his.
Mike, we seem to view the world, especially the past and future, from substantially different perspectives. I do not see the complete depletion of petroleum as "bleak," nor societal change as disruptive. Society has never been static. To say that the twentieth century was petroleum centered and that the twenty-first likely will not have been so when we are dead and it is history is not to paint a bleak picture of the future, but to imagine possibilities--I'll warrant that drilling on Titan is also imagining possibilities, as is sipping fresh roasted Martian coffee!*

My original question to Representative Rodgers might be rephrased thus: Are you pursuing legislation that is not rooted in static notions of twentieth century realities as normative for our future? I hope not, although I fear that such is precisely the case.
That's where I left it this morning, except that I pasted the whole conversation into this space with a brief headnote.

My title deserves more. The original post is embarrassing.

This afternoon, I rewrote the blog post. Being the archivist that I am, I preserved the original in a post with a date nearly two years ago. Blogger's editing quirks permit a few liberties that I'm beginning to explore. Follow the hyperlink to my archive of the original post if you wish to make fun of my copy and paste laziness.

Addenda 25 August 2009

Last night, Mike Hen added a final note to our conversation. It's clear that we have some agreement regarding our disagreement, and some shared values and perspectives, despite seemingly adverse political priorities.
James, I'll accept your analysis on our viewpoints as accurate, although I'm not against a change in energy sources in the slightest. What I am against is change that would damage our society in any way.

The lure of the uncertain future is best answered on an individual basis with little change, in society, being felt until it has been vetted by forerunners.

Again I ask, what can you put in my tank tomorrow so that I can get to work. Twenty years in the future is well past the point that I'm willing to wait in order to keep from losing my present job.

I'll also agree that the only thing that is constant is change, the only thing we're quibbling about is the speed.
Thanks Mike. I enjoyed the exchange.

*The link to this coffee company was added after I Googled "Martian coffee" and found my blog on page two. This coffee company was next in their list. Their correction to some misconceptions concerning The War of the Worlds deserves a visit.

1 comment:

Mike H. said...

James, it was an enjoyable exchange. Although I am a partisan, I believe that the points raised are the targets, not the progenitor.

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