Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


The dirty little secret of electric cars.

The dirty little secret of electric cars.

A 2012 comprehensive life-cycle analysis in Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that almost half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car, especially the battery. The mining of lithium, for instance, is a less than green activity. By contrast, the manufacture of a gas-powered car accounts for 17% of its lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions. When an electric car rolls off the production line, it has already been responsible for 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The amount for making a conventional car: 14,000 pounds. …

So unless the electric car is driven a lot, it will never get ahead environmentally. And that turns out to be a challenge. Consider the Nissan Leaf. It has only a 73-mile range per charge. Drivers attempting long road trips, as in one BBC test drive, have reported that recharging takes so long that the average speed is close to six miles per hour—a bit faster than your average jogger.

In other words, government subsidies for electric cars are nothing more than another feel-good program, accomplishing nothing.

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11 comments

  • I’ve made similar points. Life-cycle analysis is the bane of the Progressive world-view. “But we’re saving the planet!” No, you’re not. The ‘planet’ doesn’t give a damn; but the people suffering from ever-decreasing living standards certainly do.

  • Jim

    Any nascent technology seems dim at the outset. In 1895, when the Duryea Bros. were beginning to use the automobile, it traveled at about 7 MPH, also a bit faster than your average jogger, about 1/4 of the speed of horse, and with no gas stations available to refuel. Should we have stuck with the horse? And how about the hybrid? Now it seems silly to think we should not have them. But it took 6 years for the Prius to catch on here in the US and now it seems it is one of the most popular cars and is profitable, although it was not at the beginning. I have one and it is great.

    You can argue that the government should not subsidize it, but arguing that the technology will not get any better is wrong. It will get better and the life-cycle results will get better over time. Regardless, it is interesting to note what Mr. Lomborg says in conclusion in his last paragraph:

    “The electric car might be great in a couple of decades but as a way to tackle global warming now it does virtually nothing. The real challenge is to get green energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels. That requires heavy investment in green research and development. Spending instead on subsidizing electric cars is putting the cart before the horse, and an inconvenient and expensive cart at that.”

    So it seems he is admitting the technology will get better, and it also seems he is not adverse to government investment in green technology. I agree with both sentiments.

  • Kelly Starks

    >Any nascent technology seems dim at the outset.==

    Ah, electric car PRECEDED Gasoline, Deasel or steam vehicles. Ever since their fans have been saying that “…in 20 years electric will be competitive!!”

    Right now just the replacement cost of the batteries (you need to every 3-4 years in electrics) give a cost permile equal to $40-$60 a gallon gasoline.

    >.. it took 6 years for the Prius to catch on here in the US and now it seems it is one of the most popular cars ==

    Actually Hybrides hardly sell. About half of all hybrides ever sold are the Prius, but total world wide sales of Prius since they started making thems a bit over a million — which is less then one years sales of the Ford F-150’s (or the GM competitor) in the US alone.

    >.. “The electric car might be great in a couple of decades but as a way to tackle global warming ===

    ?!! Electrics carbon and airpollution levels are higher then gasoline cars given power plants arn’t as clean as cars at burning fuel.

  • I rented a Prius a couple of years ago to check it out. The deal-killer for me is that the design restricts driver visibility past the B-pillar. The car has a huge blind spot. That, and rear visibility isn’t too hot, either. I’ll take the F-150; what it lacks in gas mileage it more than makes up for in utility. Plus, you can’t put a gun rack in a Prius.

  • Jim

    You are right about visibility…you need to be careful on left turns, and backing out of spaces visibility can be a problem. But hey, other than that…..!

  • Jim

    Interesting to note that most here seem to agree in the efficacy of nuclear power, yet it costs $10B or more to build a new nuclear power plant, and the nuclear power industry gets as much as 10X the amount of dollars that green energy gets in government subsidies. But, as the nuclear power industry suggests, the cost of building a new plant can be reduced to about $3B over time, as the learning curve gets reduced. And how do we get there? Government subsidies. so that we can improve on that life-cycle.

  • Kelly Starks

    >.. it costs $10B or more to build a new nuclear power plant, ..

    Not a unusually high cost for similar sized other plants. Though with us becoming the new OPEC of the world, Natural gas is more economical then coal or nukes.

    Though speeding up the review cycle could cut a big chunk out of the cost due to interest costs.

    >.. the nuclear power industry gets as much as 10X the amount of dollars that green energy gets in
    > government subsidies. ==

    Now ther is a really dubious claim?

  • Jim

    Not dubious at all. Here is a report from a venture capital firm:
    http://www.dblinvestors.com/2011/09/subsidies-to-new-energy-sources-are-at-lowest-point-in-u-s-history/

    In it they say:
    “Aver­age annual sup­port for the oil and gas indus­try has been $4.86 bil­lion (1918–2009), com­pared to $3.50 bil­lion for nuclear (1947–1999) and $0.37 bil­lion (1994–2009) for renew­able energy.”
    (The link above is a summary, but there also is a link there for the full report pdf)

    But whatever the actual numbers, if you disagree with the numbers in the report, the fact remains that federal and state governments subsidize all sources of energy, not just those related to electric cars and renewables. And in the case of nuclear, it is because as currently constituted it is just too expensive. And quite honestly, the private sector has already spoken about nuclear power…it does not invest at all in it- its too expensive to build and insure. This as opposed to renewables, which attract a lot of private investment because private investment sees it as having a future…at least so far. So, if nuclear is going to remain an option, it will have to be subsidized by government.

  • Kelly Starks

    >.. federal and state governments subsidize all sources of energy, not just those related to
    > electric cars and renewables…

    Though the others have some actual commercial value

    >… And in the case of nuclear, it is because as currently constituted it is just too expensive….

    Actually not – most of the cost (construction costs) is due to regulatory delays. Literally, you legally have to pay billions to wait while the feds process paperwork slowly, and re-review the same paperwork over and over. Then they give you a grant to pay them with.
    ;/

    >.. as opposed to renewables, which attract a lot of private investment ..

    Actually they don’t – they get huge gov subsidiz and tax breaks.

    The big money – and the big energy change, is from our huge new oil and gas finds in the US and Canada. A third of our fuel imports have been replaced by domestic in the last few years alone by them.

  • Jim

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/12/world/renewables-finance-unep

    Some stats that might be of interest:

    “It found that renewables accounted for 44% of all new energy generation capacity added last year, up from 34% in 2010 and just 10.3% back in 2004.
    The source for most of this finance came from the private sector. Investment from the private domain in research and development of new technologies was almost double that of governments and public bodies.”
    This is worldwide, but we do live in a globalized economy.

    And one more about private investment here in the US:
    http://www.fierceenergy.com/story/acore-private-investment-policies-driving-renewables/2013-02-11
    And here they say, “There has been more than $500 billion in private sector investment in renewable energy technology in the past two years. At the same time, the cost of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources continues to decline.”

    There has in fact been significant private investment in renewables, and it increases every year. There is little, maybe even none, in nuclear.

  • Kelly Starks

    > “It found that renewables accounted for 44% of all new energy generation capacity added last year, up
    > from 34% in 2010 and just 10.3% back in 2004. ==

    And yet the DOE an Energy Information Administration project green or renewable energy will make no significant contribution even by 2050?

    http://www.ndu.edu/es/programs/academic/industry/reports/2012/pdf/es-is-report-energy-2012.pdf
    http://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/files/2010/04/Energy-Democracy-Report-WEB.pdf

    I.E. by 2035 of all primary fuel sources renewables will go from 7% to 11%. Contrast that with domestic oil and natural gas dropping our imports from 60% to 40% of our needs in the last 10 years, and note that their projections proceeded the huge new surges in oil and gas production that are expected to drive oil prices way down like Natrural gas did.

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