Archive for July 20th, 2006

Oil deposits

This is how SeedMagazine.com shows the future of the petroleum extraction in a recent (and downloadable) “crib sheet? I’m confused about why the continental US is white/blank/reserve-less, ’cause I’ve seen the pumps out there on the Great Plains and elsewhere (including Michigan!), plus the Canadian Plains blob just dies at the border—and I think extends into the northern Gulf of Mexico…. And, is it true there are no deposits across the southern globe?

Speaking of Edward Tufte-inspired graphics and statistics issues: if the blobs are changed to density per area ranks (instead of by the overall volume of each), how would the map change? Would the hot spots move?

The same cribsheet also claims that there’s new hybrid automotive technology out there called a steel v-belt continuously variable transmission that will supplant the current type(?s?), and be even more fuel-efficient. A quick Google, and I’m none the wiser, except that Chinese v-belt manufacturers have a significant web presence, and v-belts seem to be an extant technology. I’d still like to think Seed’s doing a good job of reporting, though….

Reminder: Get over and ask the neighbor how she likes her Prius!

While I’m at it, another Seed page has a Bill McKibben article from their April/May issue where his answers to the question “What constellation of forces might shake up the American political system enough to provoke real, deep change?” seem to be at odds with those I heard John Dean espouse in a interview regarding his new book Conservatives Without Conscience.

Dean told Keith Olbermann that the strong followers of authoritarian leaders constitute about 23% of Americans (didn’t say percent of voters or of adults). So, if we’re to combat the block they constitute we must understand how they behave. These are the folks for whom it is an emotional and not a logical issue to “hate liberals, Hillary Clinton, or their current topic/person—cultist behavior, in short.

Here’s a bit of what Dean wrote in the Boston Globe:

Authoritarian conservatives are, as a researcher told me, “enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral.” And that’s not just his view. To the contrary, this is how these people have consistently described themselves when being anonymously tested, by the tens of thousands over the past several decades.
Authoritarianism’s impact on contemporary conservatism is beyond question. Because this impact is still growing and has troubling (if not actually evil) implications, I hope that social scientists will begin to write about this issue for general readers. It is long past time to bring the telling results of their empirical work into the public square and to the attention of American voters. No less than the health of our democracy may depend on this being done. We need to stop thinking we are dealing with traditional conservatives on the modern stage, and instead recognize that they’ve often been supplanted by authoritarians.

Vocabulary: disjecta membra, a plural noun meaning scattered fragments, especially of written work. Not to be confused with flotsam and jetsam, although in certain circumstances disjecta membra may resemble what Anne calls shambling mounds.

Enough from me. Your turn.