The New Yorker has a jaw-droppingly awesome piece by Elizabeth Kolbert on the “Car of the Future.” It is a book review, a history lesson and a sober analysis of challenges America will face in maintain our ingrained car culture. It tells of the early promise, failure and disingenuous re-purposing of government money to deliver a vehicle that would get 80 miles to the gallon to a hydrogen based vehicle by Spencer Abraham, Bush’s first term appointment of Secretary of Energy and believer that the Department of Energy should be eliminated. A hydrogen vehicle, not nearly as practical as a 80 mpg Diesel-electric hybrid and a complete scraping of more than one billion dollars. Much like those fiber-optic broadband networks that government paid for. It isn’t that America didn’t invest in the infrastructure to stay competitive in fields that we are currently falling behind in, the American people have been sold out by corrupt companies that just pocketed the research money with no plans to actually deliver on what was promised. It isn’t that what is going on in Iraq as far as swindling is new, it is just on a much larger scale and completely brazen.
I’m afraid we are following Burch’s Law:
I think people should have a right to be stupid and, if they have that right, the market’s going to respond by supplying as much stupidity as can be sold.
Unfortunately, there are very real consequences to this stupidity.
On a final note, Al Jazeera has an interesting segment on oil prices.
As for my thoughts, I don’t think we are at peak oil yet. It is hard to tease the amount of legitimate speculation based on the geo-politics and which are based on fomenting those fears. However, I do feel that a lot of the weakness is because of the dollar, as I’ve looked at before. And expect to see many more stories like this one in the coming months.